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Philadelphia's filthy rich CEOs got a lot richer (32.6 percent, on average) last year, and they did it by freezing your pay and slashing your benefits:
ONCE UPON A TIME - when the local founding Pew family was still in control - workers at Sunoco's sprawling Marcus Hook refinery joked about working for "Uncle Sunny," the kind of company in which a generous health plan for early retirees was negotiated with a simple handshake.
But today the dwindling number of time-clock punchers at the region's largest oil refiner say that they're so shell-shocked from the loss of 400 jobs at Sunoco's shuttered South Jersey site, a looming pension freeze and news that workers under 50 now won't be getting that retiree health coverage, they cringe at what might be next.
"Your blood pressure is up from the time you check in until the time you leave," said Dave Miller, president of Local 10-901 of the United Steelworkers, which represents some Marcus Hook workers. His union cohort, Mike McLain, nodded in agreement: He was six months shy of his 50th birthday when Sunoco killed off the future-retiree health benefits for its under-50 workers.
But at least one Sunoco employee did all right by "Uncle Sunny" in 2010: its CEO, Lynn Elsenhans.
Elsenhans arrived at Sunoco in 2008 to carry out an aggressive program of cost-cutting. That apparently did not include her own compensation package - which rose last year by a staggering 524 percent, to more than $11.7 million.
They earned it, right? Maybe. But such gross inequality tears at the fabric of society. The rich can do things in our current so-called democracy -- buy candidates and elections, for example -- that you and I can't. And their formula for boosting their individual company's bottom line -- and lining their own pockets in the process -- is crushing the broader economy, creating a middle class with no money and no confidence in the future. But go ahead -- bow at the powerful altar of the (rigged) "free market."