The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Parasites Rob Workers’ Pensions

Apr 29, 2013

An astonishing arbitrator’s decision has awarded $720,000 to an ex-CEO of Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport.

The winner, Turkia Mullin, was at the center of a 2011 scandal exposing several layers of corruption in the old-boys-network that uses Wayne County and its associated large airport as their own personal piggy banks. Mullin was hastily fired by the airport board in an attempt to limit the public exposure and damage.

Using a technicality in the law, Mullin sued for unjust discharge. The arbitrator ruled that the county board hadn’t used the proper procedure or the proper excuse when they fired her. So Mullin was awarded all the money she would have earned during her entire contract.

But, there’s more.

Mullin moved into the airport job from a top job at Wayne County and took with her a $200,000 “severance payment.” That payment ignited the 2011 scandal. It was revealed that the Wayne County Executive, Robert Ficano, the “old boy” who engineered Mullin’s original contract and gold parachute, had manipulated the Wayne County workers’ retirement fund.

Ficano had ruled that executives and other personal friends and appointees could enroll in the workers’ retirement fund. The executive contracts allowed them to retire in 20 years or even earlier, and draw huge benefits of more than $100,000 per year.

This would drain the fund before the regular workers could get in their 30 years and draw their modest retirements! So the accountants declared the fund “underfunded!”

In a brazen twist of logic and ethics, Ficano used the Mullin scandal to declare that the county budget needed to be reformed. He would “balance the budget,” as he said in a speech on March 5, by “reducing our workforce by 35%, more than 2000 positions ... implementing salary reductions and furlough days ... healthcare cost-sharing and retirement incentives.”

In short, the executives conspired to enrich themselves by first stealing the workers’ money, then using the deficit they created as an excuse to cut the workers’ jobs, pay and benefits! And, incidentally, twisting the law to make sure that even scandalous CEOs keep their ill-gotten gains.

The public workers are being robbed by the public parasites.