Teamsters confront XPO CEO for ignoring workers

As Bradley Jacobs CEO of XPO Logistics delivered his keynote speech to a conference on global logistics being held in Long Beach, California, he could faintly hear his name being called.

The faint voice grew louder, and as it turns out, it wasn’t a single voice; instead, it was the united voice of 100 Teamsters and their supporters, who had marched into the hotel lobby where the conference was being held chanting, “Bradley Jacobs you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.”

Some of the members of the group chanting in the hotel lobby were XPO workers who voted to join the Teamsters in union representation elections. Even though XPO workers voted to unionize in a number of election overseen by the US National Labor Relations Board, Jacobs and XPO’s executive management refuse to meet and bargain with the new Teamster members.

The new union workers at XPO say that they unionized because of low pay and the lack of benefits.

“XPO’s Board of Directors just authorized a $110 million stock bonus plan for Bradley Jacobs. Meanwhile, my coworkers and I package and distribute parts for military helicopters to governments all over the world, yet at $12 an hour we can’t support our families without government assistance,” said Monica Abraham, an XPO warehouse worker in New Haven, Connecticut.

Instead of listening to the workers’ grievances, Jacobs ignored them and tried to block their attempts to unionize.

“When we raised concerns with management we were ignored, so we decided to organize,” said Ryan Janota, a freight driver at XPO in Aurora, Illinois. “Instead of respecting our rights, XPO spent a fortune on high-priced union-busting consultants to try and silence us. It didn’t work and we elected to join the Teamsters so Bradley Jacobs will have to listen!”

New XPO Teamster members were joined in the hotel lobby by shorthaul truck drivers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. They work for XPO, but, according to the workers, the company misclassifies them as independent contractors.

“Because XPO treats us like employees but pays us as ‘independent contractors’ and deducts their truck expenses from our paychecks, there are many weeks when we don’t even earn the minimum wage,” said Luis Meza, an XPO shorthaul driver. “This is abuse and that’s why my co-workers and I have filed lawsuits against XPO.”

The drivers’ suit alleges that XPO has committed  wage theft by misclassifying them as independent contractors.

XPO workers and other Teamsters were joined in the hotel lobby by members of Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, a faith-based social justice organization and the Los Alliance for a New Economy.

William Carr, a Catholic priest from Los Angeles spoke to Jacobs from the hotel lobby over a bullhorn.

“The Church teaches that worker rights are God-given rights,” said Carr. “These workers are here today demanding to speak to you Bradley Jacobs. You have repeatedly refused to meet with them. You must stop interfering with and begin respecting  the XPO workers’ federally protected right to organize a union. This is a God-given right.”

“What you’re doing is immoral,” said another clergy member who didn’t give his name. “Listen to your workers.”

Teamsters turn back threat to their pensions; prepare for more

Before the holidays, scores of retired Teamsters gathered in Washington DC to urge lawmakers to oppose a bill that threatened their retirement security.

They returned home victorious after convincing lawmakers to omit from inclusion in a must-past budget bill the Multiemployer Reform Act of 2016.

This bill, also called the Composite bill, would have allowed pension plans whose members work or worked for multiple employers to create Composite pension plans that shift investment risks onto the backs of individual workers and retirees.

“We stopped another ambush of our retirement security,” said Greg Smith, a Teamster retiree from Akron, Ohio to Teamsters for a Democratic Union, an organization of rank-and-file Teamster members building union power on the job. “(We) did a lot of hard work to make sure the Composite (bill) wouldn’t see the light of day.”

Smith, a member of National United Committees to Protect Pensions, an organization of local committees of Teamster retirees, also said that retirees who didn’t go to Washington DC made phone calls and sent e-mails.

“It’s the grassroots effort we’ve organized that’s making a big difference.” continued Smith.

Multiemployer pension plans are common in industries such as transportation, construction, and hospitality.

Until recently, these pension plans provided a modest yet secure retirement for millions of hard working people.

But some of these plans have hit on hard times. Pension plans for Teamsters have been especially hard hit. First they suffered large financial losses when Wall Street speculation caused the Great Recession and a subsequent market downturn.

As the markets recovered, the pension plans were hit by the long-term effects of political policies enacted nearly 40 years ago. One of those policies was the deregulation of the trucking industry that allowed hundreds of new non-union trucking companies to begin operating.

These non-union trucking companies didn’t contribute to the multiemployer pension funds that protected Teamsters’ retirement, and their race to the bottom wages and benefits put pressure on union trucking companies to lower labor costs, which in many cases led to insufficient pension contributions from employers.

Forty years ago, the US government also began chipping away at laws that protected workers’ rights to join a union. As a result, union organizing became more difficult, and fewer workers were able to join unions, which weakened their ability to protect pension plans like those that protect retired Teamsters.

The result is that some multiemployer pensions like those of the Teamsters are under funded.

Congress has been trying to deal with the under funding problem, but the solutions that it has considered start from two questionable assumptions: first, the interests of business always take priority over the interests of workers and second, retirees and workers must shoulder more of the risks and burdens of saving their pensions.

Two years ago, Congress enacted its first law dealing with the under funding problem. It also was named the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act. It allowed under funded multiemployer pension plans to reduce benefits.

Last year, the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund used this law to propose  pension cuts, but a grassroots effort by retired Teamsters stopped the proposed cuts.

The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2016 was Congress next effort to deal with the under funding problem. The Composite pensions that it would have authorized are a hybrid cross between traditional pensions and 401(k)-type retirement savings accounts.

Composites are a boon to employers because they make it possible for employers to lower their pension contributions, but they put workers’ retirement security at risk.

Composite plans allow workers to retire with a lifetime annuity, but the amount of that annuity depends on the health of financial markets. If markets take a big hit like they did in 2008 and 2009, the amount of annuity is subject to reduction.

There is another way to deal with the under funding problem. The Keep Our Pension Promises Act (KOPP), sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, would allow the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to help troubled multiemployer pension plans by paying a small portion of the plans’ benefits in order to prevent benefit cuts.

Financial assistance under KOPP would be paid for by closing two tax loopholes that benefit the very wealthy.

Unlike other proposals, KOPP puts the interest of workers and retirees first, but given the leadership of the new Congress, it is more likely that when Congress turns its attention to dealing with the under funding problem, it will pursue proposals like the Composite bill.

Members of the National United Committee to Protect Pensions are gearing up to fight any new Composite bill that may surface in Congress and to fight other threats to their pension.

“We’re going to continue what we’re doing. We’re going to step up the effort a little bit,” said Mike Walden, chairman of National United Committee to Protect Pension to Channel 26 News in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “We have to get a little more professional, which is why the national committee was formed. And, we have some power on both ends now. But, the majority of our power is still power in numbers.”

Judge orders striking pilots back to work

A federal judge on the day before Thanksgiving ordered striking airline cargo pilots to return to work.

The pilots, members of the Airline Pilots Professional Association, Teamsters Local 1224, walked off the job on November 22 at ABX Air, a cargo airline whose main customers are DHL Worldwide Express and Amazon.

The workers voted almost unanimously in May to authorize a strike against ABX.

The pilots went on strike to protest under staffing at the company and the company’s violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

The collective bargaining agreement requires pilots to be on call during off days to make so-called emergency flights when no on-duty crews are available.

But the union says that under staffing has resulted in overuse of emergency flights.

“To date in 2016, pilots have been scheduled to cover over 8000 emergency assignment days on days they should have had off,” said the union in its media release about the strike.

As a result of under staffing at ABX, pilots (are) continuously being forced to work ’emergency’ assignments on their off time,” states the release.

Taking away pilots’ off time, according to the union, is a violation of collective bargaining agreement that allows pilots to receive compensatory days off after they have worked six emergency flights in a year.

Cincinnati.com reports that as of July, 59 percent of ABX pilots and 48 percent of its first officers had worked at least six emergency flights.

The lack of off time is taking its toll on ABX’s pilots and their families.

“I take my job as a pilot seriously, and I’m committed to serving ABX Air and our customers, but I’m also a father of a little girl and help care for my aging mother,” said Randy Riesbeck, a long-time ABX pilot. “On numerous occasions I have had to miss my daughter’s school events and previously scheduled medical appointments for my mother, all because ABX Air emergency assigned me to work on a day I had scheduled off. How am I supposed to explain to my daughter why I wasn’t there to see her grow up? How do I explain to my mother that I can’t take her to the doctor?”

Tim Jewell, a pilot who has worked for ABX for 20 years, said that the company’s under staffing and over reliance on emergency flights “stretches us so thin that our bodies and families are suffering.”

“ABX Air needs to restore the status quo and hire enough pilots so we can get the job done,” continued Jewell.

ABX’s under staffing problems go back to the Great Recession when the business slump caused layoffs at the company.

The laid off pilots were supposed to be called back to work when business picked up.

Eventually business did pick up and in fact began to boom after ABX reached a deal to fly cargo for Amazon.

ABX now makes 35 flights a day for Amazon.

But instead of calling back the furloughed pilots, ABX “extinguished” their recall rights and began trying to hire new lower paid pilots to take their place, said the union.

But the low pay made it difficult to attract new pilots leaving the company short staffed.

The strike threatened to disrupt Christmas season deliveries especially those that come from Amazon, and ABX went to court seeking a temporary restraining order to force pilots back to work.

The union argued that ABX’s refusal to allow pilots to take compensatory leave they earned was a violation of the collective bargaining agreement, which made the strike legal under the Railway Labor Act, which regulates labor relations in the rail and airline industries.

But District Judge Timothy Black disagreed. He said that the disagreement between the union and company was a “minor dispute” over the contract’s interpretation that should be resolved by arbitration and ordered an immediate end to the strike.

The fact that ABX carried cargo for Amazon also entered into Black’s decision.

“Imagine Christmas without Amazon!” wrote Black in his decision.

Before the strike, the union had been trying to address under staffing and other issues through collective bargaining, but those negotiations have been going on for two years with no end in sight.

The union said that the pilots would return to work but would continue to fight for adequate staffing and an end to the company’s contract violations.

XPO workers resist anti-union campaign; vote to join Teamsters

XPO Logistics workers in Illinois and Connecticut resisted an intense anti-union campaign and voted in two separate elections to join the Teamsters.

“This is all about us workers standing up to this corporate bully and demanding fair wages, affordable health insurance and an end to the mistreatment,” said Ted Furman an XPO employee at the company’s North Haven, Connecticut warehouse. “XPO’s CEO, Bradley Jacobs, had the audacity to come to our warehouse and tell us we don’t need a union, and then he returned just a couple of days before the election. Well, Mr. Jacobs, we are now proud Teamster members!”

The North Haven warehouse workers on October 13 voted 72-49 to join the Teamsters and became XPO’s first warehouse workers in the US to unionize.

On the same day, XPO drivers in Aurora, Illinois also voted to join Teamsters Local 179.

“Our victory is important to all of us because we have seen how XPO operates since taking over Con-way Freight,” said Cliff Phillips, a driver in Aurora. “XPO is treating us unfairly, denying us any voice on the job and just seems interested in the bottom line. But now we will fight back as Teamsters!”

XPO Logistics is one of the world’s largest transportation and logistics companies. It operates businesses in every link of the supply chain all over the world.

It has been on a buying binge as it tries to capture more of the transportation and logistics market. In 2015, it purchased Con-way Freight, where the Teamsters were conducting an organizing drive.

After the purchase, XPO continued and expanded the anti-union efforts initiated by Con-way.

In Aurora, XPO spent money on a union avoidance company to keep its Aurora site union free.

On the days before the Aurora union vote was taken, consultants from the union avoidance company hopped into the cabs of freight trucks and gave drivers lecutures on the right to work for less by remaining union free.

XPO has used other tactics to prevent workers from joining a union.

In Laredo, Texas, workers at what then was Con-way voted in 2014 to join the Teamsters.

Instead of bargaining with the union, the company went to court to overturn the election.

When XPO bought Con-way, XPO could have withdrawn the challenge and recognized the workers’ union, but the company chose not to.

Unfortunately for XPO, a federal judge in September denied XPO’s request to set aside the Laredo election results.

“The company has tried to do everything to delay and frustrate the workers, but for over two years they have remained strong and united in their fight for a more secure future and a voice on the job,” said Frank Perkins, president of Local 657.

Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters Freight Division, urged XPO to halt further efforts to nullify the union vote.

“We demand that the company gets serious about negotiating a contract in Laredo. These workers have waited far too long,” said Johnson.

Shortly after the union victories in Connecticut and Illinois, the Teamsters took advantage of the momentum generated by the pro-union vote and conducted a mass leafletting of XPO work sites.

“The national campaign continues to gain momentum (as). . .workers have realized that the new XPO, which is highly unionized in Europe, needs to be a union employer here in the US, too,” said a posting on the Teamsters XPO Facebook page.

The next union election will take place at an XPO site in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania where 52 drivers will vote on whether to join the Teamsters.

Ryan Janato, an XPO driver in Aurora had a message for the King of Prussia drivers and other XPO workers who want a union voice on the job.

“They said it couldn’t be done. We did it; you can’t be scared of these guys. The union busters come in; they did what they tried to do. It didn’t work. We made a better future for our families and co-workers, and you can do it too. Just believe in your local,” said Janato.

Hoffa urges anti-trust action against possible beer merger

Teamster President Jim Hoffa in a recent letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch urged the Justice Department to reject a proposed merger of the world’s two largest brewing companies unless one of the merger partners reverses its decision to close its brewery in Eden, North Carolina.

The closure would leave 450 Teamster members without jobs.

SABMiller’s, the world’s second largest brewer, announced in September 2015 that it would close its Eden brewery in September 2016. The announcement of the closure came two days before the merger talks between SABMiller’s and Anheuser-Busch-InBev (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer, became public.

In his letter to the attorney general, Hoffa writes,

If this closure is permitted to move forward, it will not only affect good American jobs. . . but also negatively impact competition in the industry. The impact on consumers, we believe, will become apparent within months after the transactions take place and is likely to persist for years. Reductions in industry capacity of this magnitude translate directly into higher prices for consumers, particularly in an industry that the Antitrust Division itself characterized in 2013 as not behaving competitively.

SABMiller’s, a London-based brewer with its roots in South Africa, operates in the US in a partnership with Molson Coors. In the US, it’s known as MillerCoors, which, in addition to the two main brands, produces an assortment of other beers.

Beers brewed in Eden include Coors, Coors Light, Miller High Life, and Miller Lite among others.

According to the Teamsters, the Eden brewery produces 12.5 percent of the MillerCoors production capacity and 4 percent of all the beer made in the US.

Eden’s production will be transferred to other MillerCoors breweries, but Hoffa argues in his letter to Lynch that the other breweries don’t have the capacity to absorb Eden’s production.

“Closing Eden will not just eliminate production capacity in North Carolina; we believe it will drive down barrelage output at other MillerCoors breweries,” writes Hoffa.

Hoffa proposes that as condition for approving the merger between AB-InBev and SABMiller’s, MillerCoors at least be required to offer the Eden brewery for sale, an option that MillerCoors has been unwilling pursue.

Hoffa suggests that MillerCoors doesn’t want to sell the brewery because in the past when “breweries have been sold to competitors, the result has been good for competition and consumers but bad for the former owner.”

Closing the Eden brewery also will be bad for the local community, which stands to lose more than the 520 good-paying union and non-union jobs at the brewery.

The impact of the closure will ripple throughout the community.

Three local trucking companies have major transportation contracts with MillerCoors, and a Ball Corp. factory in nearby Reidsville makes cans for the brewery.

The brewery is also the source of $1.3 million in tax revenue for a city with a $22 million operating budget.

“This shutdown will be devastating for the brewery workers, their families and our whole community, said Vernon Gammon, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 391, which represents the Eden brewery employees, at a March rally to keep the brewery open.

“This community and our entire state will suffer because of the loss of these good paying jobs,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said at the same rally.

Both the US and North Carolina attorneys general are reviewing the proposed merger for possible violations of state and federal anti-trust laws.

The proposed merger of AB-InBev and SABMiller will create a mega-corporation that will control 30 percent of the world’s beer market and is the latest in a series of mergers that have winnowed competition in the global beer market.

In 2004 AmBev, a Belgium brewer, whose most notable brand in the US is Stella Artois, and Inbrew, a Brazilian brewer, merged to form the largest brewing company in the world–InBev.

In 2008, InBev grew bigger by acquiring Anheuser Busch.

That merger drew the interest of the US Justice Department but was allowed proceed.

SAB, or the South African Breweries, acquired Miller’s in 2002.

Hoffa in his letter noted that the two companies involved in the merger would like to get approval quickly, but he warned that a rush to approval would have consequences.

“The companies involved, no doubt, would like to see the investigation wrapped up in short order so they can complete their mega-merger,” Hoffa said. “Their desire to expedite cannot take precedence over the need to ‘get it right’ for consumers and working families.”

Treasury Department says no to proposed Teamster pension cuts

Retired Teamsters won’t have their pensions cut as had been proposed last year by the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF).

CSPF , a multiemployer pension fund that covers more than 400,000 active and retired Teamsters, had planned to reduce pensions by an average of 34 percent in order to return the pension fund to solvency.

To do so, the fund needed the permission of the US Treasury. After reviewing CSPF’s application requesting the pension cuts, the Treasury Department on May 6 announced that it was denying the request.

Retirees who were facing the pension cuts had mounted a strong grassroots movement that mobilized thousands of Teamster retirees and others to oppose the proposed benefit reductions.

They formed more than 60 regional committees that informed retirees about the proposed cuts. Retirees responded by writing letters to Congress, attending hearings on the proposed cuts, and holding local rallies to protest the cuts.

All this activity culminated in a demonstration in Washington DC where thousands of retired Teamsters gathered a month ago to protest the cuts.

Their message was clear–a pension is a promise that must not be broken.

Karen Friedman, executive vice president of the Pension Rights Center, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Treasury Department’s decision is, “a tremendous victory of retirees.”

“It showed that the government listened,” she added.

“I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted,” said Greg Smith whose pension would have been cut by more than 50 percent. “The pension that I worked all those years for will continue to be there for me.”

While retirees were relieved to hear the good news, the structural problems that caused CSPF to propose benefit cuts have not been resolved.

These problems, which led actuaries to estimate that CSPF would be insolvent by 2025, took shape 30 years ago as the trucking industry was being deregulated.

As new trucking firms entered the market, they sought to undercut market rates by lowering labor costs. Workers for these companies usually did not have a union to stop this race to the bottom.

As a result, fewer trucking companies are providing their workers with a pension, which means fewer pension contributions are being made by employers.

In the 2000s, as more Teamsters with pensions began to retire, the number of retirees grew while the number of active workers in the plan grew smaller.

Today, CSPF is paying $3.46 in benefits for every $1 it collects.

To make matters worse, CSPF suffered another blow when the fund’s investments took a big hit during the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath. The fund has since recovered from the economic fallout of the crisis.

Action at the federal level will be needed to keep  CSPF and other multiemployer pension plans solvent.

Two bills have been introduced that could protect retirees whose pensions come from pension plans like CSPF

The Keep Our Pension Promise Act by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Marcy Kaptur would ensure that multiemployer pension plans like CSPF will have enough money to continue to pay promised pensions.

“Pensions are earned benefits just like a paycheck,” said Rep. Kaptur after introducing the bill in the US House of Representatives. “These workers aren’t asking for a favor or a handout. They’ve put in long hours over the course of a lifetime and deserve the compensation they are owed. They certainly deserve better than to be abandoned after that lifetime of work to retire in poverty or be forced to depend on their families or the government for support.”

The Pension Accountability Act by Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. David Joyce amends the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA), which made CSPF’s proposed cuts possible.

The bill by Sen. Portman and Rep. Joyce would give workers and retirees a seat at the table where decisions about their pensions are made.

“The MPRA was a horrible piece of legislation that would have never passed through Congress on its own merits,” said John Murphy, the Teamsters’ eastern regional international vice president. “In the short term, we intend to continue to push through legislative remedies that will fix the negative aspects of the MPRA while fighting to repeal the law in the long term.”

Despite the challenges that remain, those most affected were glad to hear that the Treasury Department had rejected the proposed cuts.

“I worked for 31 years with the expectation that when I retired my pension was going to be there to support me through my golden years,” said Mike Walden, a Teamster retiree from Akron, Ohio. “A pension is a promise made by the company to the employee and there is no acceptable reason that the promise should be broken. This was the right decision.”

Settlement reached in Uber independent contractor suits

Two potentially ground-breaking class action lawsuits that could have radically altered the relationship between Uber and its drivers ended on April 21 with a soft whimper instead of a loud bang when attorneys for the plaintiffs and Uber announced that they had reached a settlement.

Plaintiffs in the two suits, one in California, the other in Massachusetts,  argued that they are employees entitled to all rights and protections afforded to employees by US labor law ( social security, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, overtime pay, etc.) and not as Uber prefers to call them independent contractors.

The settlement does not definitively resolve the question of whether Uber drivers are employees or contractors.

But the plaintiffs’ attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan said that there will be other opportunities to win labor rights for Uber drivers.

“The case (has been) settled–not decided,” said Liss-Riordan. “No court has decided whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors and that debate will not end here.”

One of the two suits would have been heard in San Francisco, Uber’s home base, and Liss-Riordan said that it was too risky to let a jury in San Francisco determine the employment status of the company’s drivers.

As part of the settlement, Uber agreed to pay up to $100 million.. The bulk of that money will go to compensate eligible drivers.

Those eligible include drivers in California and Massachusetts who opted out of the clause in their contract that forbids them from joining class action suits.

Liss-Riordan estimates that about 385,000 drivers will be eligible for compensation but not all will file claims.

The amount of money eligible drivers receive depends on the number of miles that they have driven for Uber and where they work. Those who have driven more than 25,000 miles in California could receive as much as $8000.

That amount is based on an estimate that only 50 percent of those eligible will file claims.

If 100 percent of the eligible drivers in California file claims, the amount that each driver receives would be $1950. In Massachusetts, the average amount received if 100 percent of eligible drivers file claims would be $979.

The average payout for drivers who drove less than 25,000 miles is between $24 and $1137.

The settlement still allows Uber to set fees and to determine how much of the fare it keeps. Currently, Uber keeps an upfront booking fee and then 20 percent of the remaining fare.

As a result of the settlement, drivers will now be able to post information in their vehicle explaining that tips are not included in the fare and that tips would be appreciated.

The agreement also  makes it somewhat more difficult for Uber to fire (or deactivate as Uber calls it) drivers working in California or Massachusetts.

Uber must now show sufficient cause for firing a driver and provide a warning that gives the driver an opportunity to correct problems identified by the company.

It establishes a panel composed of highly rated drivers who will hear appeals by drivers contesting their firing. Drivers not satisfied with the panel’s decision may appeal to an arbitrator paid by Uber.

Uber will no longer be able to fire drivers for low acceptance rates. In the past, if drivers accepted less than 80 percent of ride requests, they received emails from Uber threatening them with dismissal.

The settlement also requires Uber to meet quarterly with representatives of a drivers association.

The drivers association and Uber will discuss issues of concern among drivers.

The Teamsters in California have already stated that they will try to help Uber drivers form their association.

“After receiving overwhelming outreach from Uber drivers, representatives of Teamsters Joint Council 7 have announced plans to form an association for workers in California’s rideshare industry,” reads a statement issued by the Teamsters after the

“We welcome any Uber drivers seeking to improve their working conditions,” said Rome Aloise, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7. “By coming together, the Teamsters will help these drivers have a stronger voice and improve standards for rideshare drivers in California.”

The Teamsters have already helped organize an association of Uber drivers in Seattle.

Despite the concessions that Uber made in the settlement, Uber seems quite happy with the outcome.

In a public statement, Uber said that it “was pleased (with) this settlement” because it leaves intact for now the drivers’ status as independent contractors.

Michael Hiltzik, writing for the Los Angeles Times, observes that Uber has other reasons to be happy.

“Had litigation continued, it might have put the company’s entire business model on trial, exposing the degree to which the economic benefits of the so-called ‘gig economy’ flow heavily, even exclusively toward investors and executives at the expense of those providing the core services.”