Friday, September 05, 2008

Happy Labor Day!


On September 5, 1882, the Knights of Labor organized the first parade honoring New York's workers. Two years later, they voted to make it an annual event. Over the next ten years some thirty states across the US followed New York's lead and declared a day to honor laborers with parades, fairs, barbecues, and picnics. In 1894, an act of Congress finally declared the first Monday of September to be a federal holiday — Labor Day — dedicated to America's work force.

Today, on this commemoration of the original Labor Day, let us observe the actions of one August A. Busch IV.

Busch stood watch as the Anheuser-Busch Co. —which had been controlled by his family for over one hundred years— was sold to further the fiduciary interests of the company's stockholders.

As his reward, Busch will receive:

$17 million in compensation over the next five years to advise InBev president Carlos Brito <...> He’ll also get “an office in St. Louis, administrative support, a personal security detail, complimentary tickets to A-B-sponsored events and insured medical, dental, vision and prescription drug benefits.” <...> That’s over and above what he’ll make from the stock he owns. His father, August A. Busch III, stands to make $103.6 million.

from Brookston Beer Bulletin

Doesn't Mr. Busch have a duty to protect his workers' interests?

On this day, the original Labor Day, let us observe that such a human interest is often not a business' interest.
it’s all too common when this type of merger, takeover, or whatever you want to call it takes place ... The executives at the top, even if they horribly mismanaged the company and/or even caused the takeover, never suffer and in fact are almost uniformly rewarded with cash sums the average employee can only dream of. So as employees throughout Anheuser-Busch continue to lose sleep over their future, the Busch family and the rest of the top level executives are no doubt sleeping like babies, without a care in the world. It’s no longer up to them whether the people that made them rich have a future or if InBev will ultimately keep the promises that helped seal their fate.
from Brookston Beer Bulletin

If InBev's past practice is any portend, InBev Anheuser-Busch will not keep its promises. After all, it's only business.

Happy Labor Day!

In related news, InBev shareholders will vote on 29 September to approve (most probably) the purchase of Anheuser-Busch. The latter's board of directors accepted the sale in July.

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