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White House stacks ‘Workforce Advisory Board’ with uber-rich CEOs

If you really want insight into the problems facing American workers, multi-millionaire CEOs are not your best bet.

By Emily Singer - February 13, 2019
Ivanka Trump, Wilbur Ross

The Trump administration embarrassed itself Wednesday when it announced a new advisory council on workers that includes almost no actual workers.

Wilbur Ross, Trump’s multi-millionaire secretary of Commerce, and Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter and adviser, declared that the new American Workforce Policy Advisory Board will “ensure inclusive growth” and help workers “successfully navigate technological disruptions and the rapidly changing nature of work” in the 21st century, Bloomberg News reports.

The board, however, has almost no representation from the kinds of workers it’s seeking to help. Instead, it’s stacked deep with wealthy CEOs who earn tens of millions of dollars each year — more money than most American workers could hope to earn in a lifetime — and who are likely to be wildly out of touch with the everyday struggles of those workers.

And overseeing the entire council is the infamously out-of-touch Ross, who recently wondered out loud why federal workers would have to go to food banks when they weren’t getting paid during the Trump shutdown.

The board includes Doug McMillon, the president and CEO of Walmart, whose $22.8 million salary in fiscal year 2018 is 1,188 times that of the median Walmart employee, according to MarketWatch.

Other members of the board include:

  • Marillyn Hewson, the CEO of defense contracting giant Lockheed Martin, who in 2016 had a total compensation of $20.6 million, according to CNBC.
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook, who received roughly $15.7 million in pay in 2018 — not including the $121 million of vested stock in the company he also received, according to Business Insider.
  • Al Kelly, CEO of Visa, whose total compensation is roughly $19.5 million, according to Bloomberg.
  • And Craig Menear, CEO of Home Depot, whose total compensation is $11.6 million, according to Bloomberg.

The only worker-focused group included is North America’s Building Trades Unions, whose president, Sean McGarvey, will sit on the board.

Also involved are Walter Bumphus, the president and CEO Of the American Association of Community Colleges, and Jay Box, the president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Both of them ostensibly represent students training for technical careers.

The idea behind the council is laudable, but its actual membership — mostly wealthy CEOs, with little representation from those who understand the needs of working people — is further proof this White House simply doesn’t understand or care about American workers.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. 

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