Avoiding corporate income taxes is one way CEOs boost their companies’ profits and thereby increase their own pay. This corporate tax avoidance reduces the amount of money that is available for public goods like roads and schools. As a result, our economy increasingly has become out of balance.
Michael Smith loved working at the iconic Nabisco factory on the South Side of Chicago. For nearly five years, he operated the machines that packaged the freshly baked cookies. But in March 2016, just days before his 59th birthday, Michael was among the 600 workers laid off after Mondelēz International—the parent company of Nabisco brands—chose to shut down the Oreo line and ship those family-sustaining jobs to Mexico.
This greedy corporate decision drastically changed the life of the Smith family. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) job that gave him a sense of pride and the pay and benefits that helped him send four kids to college was gone.
“I loved working at Nabisco, and I took pride in the work I did to make a quality product,” said Smith. “It’s not as if the company isn’t profitable. The Oreo, alone, brings in $2 billion in annual revenue, and the CEO makes more in a day than most of us made in a year. I just don’t understand the disrespectful attitude toward working people.”
Michael is understandably bitter toward Mondelēz, but what particularly bothers him are the company's trumped-up claims that it supports the community.
“When I see it advertising about commitment to community on the subway, buses and trains, it really upsets me,” said Smith. “If it cared so much about our community, it would bring the Oreo line back to Chicago.”
The infrastructure, Smith said, is still in place for Nabisco to resume producing Oreos, and he would love to be working alongside the some 400 workers who remain at the plant making Nutter Butter cookies and Premium Saltine Crackers. But for now, Smith educates people about the scourge of outsourcing good jobs, BCTGM’s Check the Label campaign and its boycott of Mondelēz/Nabisco products made in Mexico.