“Golden Coffin” Death Benefit for CEO is Exorbitant and Not Tied to Performance
(SCOTTSDALE, AZ) – Representatives from the Teamsters General Fund presented a shareholder resolution today at Republic Services’ [NYSE: RSG] annual shareholder meeting that would give shareholders the right to vote on agreements to give executives payments, grants or awards upon their death. A similar resolution received 41 percent support in 2013. ISS, the leading proxy voting advisory service, had recommended shareholders vote for the Teamsters’ proposal.
“Republic’s sanitation workers risk their lives every day to protect the public health, in the sixth-most dangerous job in America,” said Robert Morales, Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division Director. “It is offensive that the Republic’s CEO’s estate will get $14 million if he dies, and in the meantime the company is risking the health of communities and workers.”
Republic has an estimated $14 million earmarked for the estate of CEO Donald Slager should he die or become disabled during employment. Shareholders did not have a voice in this decision.
“In Bridgeton, Missouri, Republic owns a landfill containing illegally-buried radioactive nuclear wastes. An underground fire is spreading closer to the radioactivity, but Republic is fighting against having the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers come in to clean it up,” Morales said. “This is a threat to workers and residents who live nearby. In addition, the delays will pose bigger risks to investors and to workers whose jobs depend on the health of this company.”
Dan Willett from the Teamsters Capital Strategies Department introduced the shareholder resolution on behalf of the Teamsters General Fund.
“These types of ‘golden coffin’ agreements are not tied to performance. Nor do they aid in retaining the executive. Therefore, shareholders should be given the right to vote on whether we feel that an executive was worthy of such an exorbitant benefit,” Willett said.
On April 24, the Teamsters released the report, “Republic Services Toxic Investments: Liabilities Mount at Nuclear Waste Landfill.” The report details the escalating costs to the public and investors for Republic’s mismanagement of its Bridgeton/West Lake Superfund landfill in Missouri. Republic has spent $219 million on remediation charges, with estimated remaining liabilities of $342 million. Since the report’s release, new tests indicate that the radioactivity may have spread to youth ballfields, and the Missouri Attorney General has called on the EPA to perform additional testing in the community.
Republic Services/Allied Waste is America’s second largest solid waste and recycling company. Its total revenues were $8.4 billion in 2013, with profits of more than $589 million.
Republic’s largest shareholder is Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, who owns nearly 25 percent of the company’s shares through Cascade Investment, LLC – about $3 billion worth. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also owns 1.35 million shares of Republic stock. Michael Larson, chief investment officer at Cascade Investment and investment manager for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been a Republic Services board director since 2009.
The Teamsters represent approximately 9,000 employees at Republic Services and its subsidiaries at more than 150 facilities throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.
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Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @TeamsterPower.