Smithfield CEO Joseph Luter III Elected 2008 'Grinch of the Year'

12-21-07, 10:44 am

With 28% of nearly 10,000 votes cast, Smithfield Chairman Joseph Luter III narrowly beat out American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey to win the seventh annual online 'Grinch of the Year' election sponsored by National Jobs with Justice. Nominated by the Justice @ Smithfield Campaign, the company is criticized for maintaining an environment of fear and intimidation for workers. For over ten years now, workers at the Tar Heel plant have fought relentlessly for a voice on the job.

American Airlines President and CEO Gerard Arpey came in a very close second with 27% of the vote. In 2003, workers gave concessions to keep the airline out of bankruptcy. Now that the company is back in the black, upper-level management is reaping the benefits with millions of dollars in bonuses, but workers get nothing. Fifteen percent of the votes went to Verizon Business’ Bob Toohey for his efforts to suppress worker organizing. Another 13% of the vote went to write-in candidate United Airlines’ CEO Glenn Tilton, and the remaining votes were split among Burger King CEO John W. Chidsey, American Motion Picture and Television Producers President J. Nicholas Counter III, and a number of write-in candidates.

The 'Grinch of the Year' awards began locally with Jobs with Justice Coalitions around the country highlighting the greedy grinch in their hometowns. That tradition has remained in many areas. Paul Levy of Beth Isreal Deaconess Hospital was elected Massachusetts Grinch of the Year. Paul Dockendorff, CEO of Northwest Security Services, Inc. was elected Grinch of Martin Luther King County, WA, and Tomlinson Linen was elected Grinch of Pierce County, WA.

South Florida JwJ named Jose Infante, owner of South Florida Maintenance Inc., as their Scrooge of the Year. His company, owes employees over $90,000 in back wages. His company violated the City and County living wage ordinances, so workers were forced to take him to court. SFM and the City of Miami agree the money is due--but like Scrooge not a penny has gone out.

In St. Louis, a record 14,268 votes were cast and Illinois Distributing Company was named Grinch of the Year. Despite profits so high they have built a new $15 million buiding and bought out a competitor distributorship, Illinois Distributing Company has imposed a contract on its drivers that slashes pay and health care benefits.

Jobs with Justice is a national campaign for workers' rights. Around the country, local Jobs with Justice Coalitions unite labor, community, faith-based, and student organizations to build power for working people.

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