Not even Sophocles could have dreamed up the degree of hubris shown by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney in his company’s negotiations with the Machinists Union for a new contract. McNerney, who last year pulled in 22 million dollars!, told the union that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they must give up their pension and accept higher healthcare costs!

This is the epitome of how Corporate America works: The lowly worker (who, be it noted, really makes the company) is threatened with losing his job unless he agrees to such draconian terms as those stated above, or ones similar. A Boeing toolmaker called the offer “extortion,” and indeed one is hard-pressed to call it anything else. Of course, conservatives never stand with the worker, but when his job is taken from him and he is unemployed, he is then accused of being lazy and shiftless. Naturally, there’s not a single word from Ted Cruz or Paul Rand—both presidential Tea Party aspirants—on the injustice of this situation. For Republicans it’s just “business as usual”—everything for the top 1% and nothing for the lowly 85%.

There has got to be a grass-roots movement to change the laws dealing with corporations in order to make them more humane. As things now stand, they are omnipotent; they do whatever they want, get from Congress whatever they want, get from states whatever they want (the state of Washington is going to give them billions in new tax breaks)–while the media extols them and prestigious business schools train their CEOs. (McNerney went to HarvardBusinessSchool).

Do you think McNerney could even survive on a machinist’s salary, let alone one without a pension, and having to shoulder higher healthcare costs to boot—and raise a family, too?—not on your 22 million dollars!

Len Sive Jr.