Message to Whitman: California’s Future Isn’t a Game

It’s no secret that Meg Whitman is wealthy beyond most of our wildest dreams. But few know the true cost of Whitman’s wealth. This week the California Labor Federation launched a new online video and video game that highlights Whitman’s job-slashing corporate history. Scroll down to watch the video, and play the game at www.WallStreetWhitman.com.

Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

Meg Whitman has made a game of downsizing workers and outsourcing their jobs, and walking away with a very real fortune for herself in the process. The record shows that Whitman is a one-person weapon of mass job destruction. By attempting to buy the California Governor’s Office, Whitman wants to take her game to the next level, but we can’t forget there are real lives at stake with every jobs she cuts, outsources or downsizes.

While Whitman touts her business savvy as her primary qualification to become governor, a closer look at Whitman’s corporate background reveals a troubling portrait of someone who got rich at the expense of her own employees. Whitman is a career corporate executive who built a personal fortune by eliminating and outsourcing jobs and slashing workers’ benefits. Everywhere she’s been, she’s made out with lucrative bonuses, stock options and other compensation. And workers have suffered hardships as a result.

Whitman’s pattern of mass job destruction is clear:

  • While Whitman served as an executive at Stride Rite from 1992-1995, the company closed two manufacturing plants in Massachusetts and fired 450 workers — and Whitman collected $568,000 in compensation and stock options. The Wall Street Journal reported that during and prior to Whitman’s tenure, the company closed 15 US plants, moving manufacturing to “low-cost Asian countries.” During Whitman’s time at Stride Rite, the company cut its unionized workforce by half.
  • While Whitman served as president and CEO of Florist Transworld Delivery (FTD) from 1995-1997, the company eliminated 475 jobs and gutted retirement benefits for workers — and Whitman collected $1.2 million in compensation and stock options.
  • While Whitman served as an executive at Hasbro from 1997-1998, the company cut the workforce by 23%, laid off 500 U.S. workers and sent manufacturing jobs to Mexico.
  • While Whitman served on the board of directors at Gap Inc from 2003-2006, the company closed down a distribution facility in Maryland, outsourced dozens of merchandising jobs and fired 100 tech workers in California.
  • While Whitman was CEO of eBay(1998-2007), the number of overseas workers at the company increased by 666%. By 2007, nearly 40% of eBay’s jobs were outsourced. Whitman also ordered layoffs during her tenure, claiming that the company had “fat that could be trimmed.” By 2008, the company had laid off more than 10% of its workforce. Under Whitman, while laying off workers, eBay repeatedly lobbied for increasing H-1B visas to foreign workers, who are often paid less and have fewer rights than workers hired in America. During her time at eBay, Whitman received about $500 million in compensation and stock options and charged the company and its shareholders nearly $3.2 million for the use of a company jet.
  • While serving on the board of directors at Goldman Sachs (2001-2002), where she was on the executive compensation committee, she doled out $79 million in executive bonuses and participated in decision-making on a range of issues relating to the firm. Goldman is now under investigation by the US Department of Justice for its role in the mortgage crisis that led to millions of home foreclosures. While at Goldman, she received more than a half a million dollars in compensation, along with insider access to new hot stocks worth millions, a practice called “spinning,” which is now illegal.

At no point in Whitman’s extensive corporate career did she prove that she could create and sustain good jobs here in the U.S. With a track record like this, we’re left wondering what exactly Whitman has to gain by becoming Governor… and we don’t have to look too far to find the answer. Whitman’s proposal to eliminate the capital gains tax would benefit millionaires and billionaires – taking money away from schools, public safety and programs for the elderly and people with disabilities. And that’s just one in a laundry list of tax breaks, giveaways and sweetheart deals she has in store for California’s biggest companies and wealthiest individuals, without regard for how that loss of revenue would affect our already cash-strapped state.

When you connect the dots of her corporate career, it’s crystal clear her priority has always been profits, at any cost, above people. Based on her proposals for California – like cutting 40,000 state jobs, opposing the job-creating high-speed rail project and scaling back workers’ overtime pay and meal breaks – it’s evident that she would bring the same corporate agenda she’s advocated throughout her career to the governor’s office. That spells disaster for California.

Whitman’s corporate mentality would lead to higher unemployment, lower wages and fewer benefits for workers – in both the public and private sector. In fact, the only group that would benefit from a Whitman governorship is the exclusive club of large corporations and millionaires and billionaires from which she comes.

We cannot afford to let Whitman and her Wall Street agenda run the show in Sacramento. It’s up to us to fight her attempt at a hostile corporate takeover of our state. Learn more and get involved at http://www.WallStreetWhitman.com



Paid for by the California Labor Federation. Not authorized by a candidate or committee controlled by a candidate.