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Twitter user claims CEOs shouldn't brag about profits while undercutting workers, sparks debate

In the midst of the Great Resignation, economics journalist Patrick W. Watson discusses why CEOs should not brag about rising profits and falling wages.

Twitter user claims CEOs shouldn't brag about profits while undercutting workers, sparks debate
Image Source: PatrickW / Twitter

In response to a news article about a strike held by production workers at a John Deere facility, one Twitter user claimed CEOs should not brag about profits while simultaneously denying workers livable wages. Patrick W. Watson, an economics journalist, argued that such tactics would have worked in a different age, but is no longer sustainable. The tweet sparked a debate about workers' rights versus the responsibility of business owners. As what many have termed "The Great Resignation" continues, with thousands of workers walking out of underpaying jobs across the United States, perhaps Watson's tweet holds some value, Bored Panda reports.


The journalist posted on Twitter, "Dear CEOs, you can't both brag to shareholders about record profits and then tell workers you can't afford better wages and working conditions. Maybe that once worked. It doesn't anymore." The tweet was in response to a news story about production workers at a John Deere facility in Waterloo, Iowa, shutting down the plant they worked in. Watson's tweet is particularly important as, according to the Economic Policy Institute, CEO pay has skyrocketed 1,322 percent since 1978. This means that CEOs were paid approximately 351 times as much as the typical worker in the year 2020.


He added, replying to another tweet about how John Deere workers went on strike because its CEO saw his pay increase by 160 percent during the pandemic to $15.6 million, that it was unclear why a board would keep a CEO who thinks such behavior is acceptable. Others agreed. "Insulting the intelligence of the workers that produce the goods that make the profit for the huge corporations is shameful and defines along with validating the term corporate greed," one Twitter user stated in response to Watson. "Giving workers higher wages begets increased productivity, [lower] turnover, and increased loyalty!"


Another Twitter user, who is supposedly a minority shareholder, posted, "I constantly clash with minority shareholders about this issue. Of course, we want to make a profit but I refuse to do it by ignoring the needs of our employees. I’m proud of the fact that employee morale has risen along with profits and that our turnover rate has plummeted." Another user still commented, "That’s the best part. They HAVE to brag about just how much money they’ve made, in order to 'appeal to investors,' and justify giving themselves egregious raises. They will never stop embarrassing themselves this way. It’s part of the game."


As late-stage capitalism chokes out workers, business owners of large firms and CEOs are beginning to witness how this impacts their operations. Many experts believe that the Great Resignation will change the way we work forever. Exploitative business models have negative effects on workers, their participation, motivation, and wellbeing, leading them to leave the workplace altogether or negotiate for better working conditions. In a post-pandemic world, it is evident that business owners must prioritize equity and fair pay in order to retain their workforce.


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