Friday, May 06, 2011

Emerson CEO Flaunts Greed

Information partly from a website called

About a week ago,in St. Louis, there was a seminar called "Get Motivated". One of the speakers was David Farr, CEO of Emerson. He received a "Citizen of the Year: award in March. Frankly, in my humble opinion, if the is the Citizen of the Year in ANY year, that particular award should be abandoned.

Farr has long spent his career whining about labor laws, environmental regulations and health care reform. In 2009, he told a group in Chicago, "What do you think I'm going to do? I'm not going to give anybody in the United States." He went on to say he would expand in "best cost" countries instead. " Best Cost" translates to "countries where I don't have to pay a living wage or offer benefits and can make bigger and bigger profits? Yeah!"

According to, last year, Farr made $24.8 million - that breaks down to $47,692 each day before lunch. And, it's not enough for him. The Greedy Gus wants more, more, more.

I worked for Emerson for fifteen years, and I know that this has long been the Emerson Corporate Culture. When time for "annual increases" rolled around, smaller and smaller each year, I was almost embarrassed for the company.

Like all "dinosaurs", the company moved slowly, but inexorably, over several years, toward moving manufacturing plants to Mexico. In fact, the transition was so slow, it actually took a lot of workers by surprise, even in the face of the obvious. They implemented a new computer network inventory system, and held a contest to name the new system. Workers and management alike celebrated the winning name - AMIGO. I can't recall what the letters stood for, but at the time, I knew, and said, rather loudly, "Well, we're losing our jobs to Mexico before long." I was roundly ridiculed at the time. Within a year, the movement southward at our plant began.

First, there were the new manufacturing plants built just across the border (so the managers could still live in and enjoy all the amenities in the U.S.) Then, we began to hear about U.S. plants being closed and the product lines moved to the new facilities. At our plant, they sent some of our supervisors to Mexico to train the people who became their replacements, and newer factories were built in Chihuahua.

Inevitably, all U.S. plants were closed and the product lines moved south, while the upper management housed itself in its corporate digs in St. Louis. where they still happily enjoy all the comforts of the United States. So, now, there are Emerson plants Mexico, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and God alone knows where else.

Over the years, there were a few costly missteps made by overeager company Vice Presidents, notably the decision to try to sell air cleaners to the denizens of the Middle East. I could just imagine the sand clogging all those air cleaners. It was rather amusing, really. Then, they decided to "partner" with China. Nobody partners with China. They will allow you to build factories there, then, before you know it, they have taken them over and you're left holding the bag, owing million$ on a plant you no longer own. Suckers!

Nevertheless, I hung on to my low and increasingly lower-paying job because there's no real opportunity for advancement in my area, until my boss told me one day that my job was being discontinued. Of course, they lied, again. I held the same position as women in two other plants, and their jobs were not cut out from under them, but our whole plant was being closed, two or three job descriptions at a time, until they were finally all gone.

Ours wasn't the only corporation "downsizing in this way. It was happening all over the country. All in the name of greed. It hasn't stopped, and it will continue until our leaders pass some laws making it unattractive to the corporations.

Stay tuned.


Olga said...

My father started working for IBM in 1950. He thought he was in heaven and wanted nothing more for his four children that we all get jobs at IBM. In all fairness, he had a great retirement and his pension took good care of my mother as well. However, I believe he would have been heart broken to see my brother (the only one who did go the IBM) be forced into early retirement with stripped down benefits.

Meryl Baer said...

There's an article in today's paper - Sunday - about CEO's making more money than they did in 2007 before the financial fiasco. Meanwhile their employees experienced lay offs, wage freezes, give backs, lost pensions, lost or minimized health care...There are still great companies out there that actually care about their employees. We just need more of them.

Betty said...

We're turning into a "service" community. It'll be "Welcome to Walmart" or, "Y'want fries withthat?"for everybody, soon.

MerCyn: Welcome to my humble blog. Yes, there are still some great companies, but they won't be able to hire everybody. We can only hope things will turn around some day soon.

Margie's Musings said...

For years I have been ridiculed for saying that capitalism is greed driven. I think today's world proves my point.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. There has to be a better system.

Dianne said...

I came by to say Happy Mom's Day :)

as for corporations, they are evil, legalized evil

I read an interesting article about how oil speculators are making a fortune as they hi-jinks drive up the price of our gas
Obama suggests investigation and regulation and the Repugs go ballistic

anyhoo - screw it
I'm making myself a Mom Day drink :)

NitWit1 said...

My brother was a Zenith electronics dealer in the early and mid 60s until the moved most of their work to Mexico where as he described it, the products became a bunch of junk.

Betty said...

Margie: There is no doubt a better system. We have to demand it.

Dianne: Happy Mother's Day to you, too. Don't get me started on gas prices.

NitWit1: He's right. Most of the products our company manufactured in Mexico had to be sent back to the remaining factories in the U.S. for rework - at least at first. But, that company has always been more interested in "getting it out the door" than doing it right.

Looking to the Stars said...

I always wondered why Emerson products went downhill, thanks to you, now I know why. If it says Emerson, I won't buy it.

Greed is at an all time high and getting worse. America has thrown herself back in time and all of us will suffer for it.

Darlene said...

It's sad to see our once great country leaving for distant shores piece by piece.

Betty said...

Looking: I should point out that there are two Emersons - one makes radios, etc., and "mine" makes various electic products, gas valves and solenoids, etc.

Darlene: It's even sadder that none of our so-called leaders have ever tried to stop the flow.

Murr Brewster said...

Right on, lady.