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Illinois - Living Wage Campaign: Schapiro and Sunshine hypocritical on wages
North By Northwestern
Jordan Fein & Adam Yalowitz

May 17, 2011
View the Original Article

As Northwestern students are pushing through to the end of the quarter, Northwestern President Schapiro and Vice President Eugene Sunshine will be thinking a little more about their side jobs.

Last year, Schapiro was paid $205,000 to serve as an Independent Director on the Board of Marsh & McLennan, the nation’s largest insurance broker. Sunshine was paid $301,363 to serve as a Director on the Board of CBOE Holdings.

Marsh paid Schapiro an annual retainer of $100,000 in cash, stock valued at $100,000, and was reimbursed $5,000 by Marsh for a charitable contribution. CBOE paid Sunshine an annual retainer of $25,000, a fee of $2,500 for each meeting of the Board that he attended, an additional annual retainer of $10,000 for serving as a committee chair, a fee of $2,500 for each committee meeting that he attended, and stock valued at $218,863.

And today, CBOE is holding its annual stockholders meeting. On Thursday, Marsh & McLennan will hold its annual stockholders meeting. Sunshine and Schapiro may or may not be in attendance, but if they are not, they will be in spirit.

Schapiro and Sunshine gave astronomical compensation to executives at Marsh and CBOE in 2010. As a member of Marsh’s Compensation Committee, Schapiro set their CEO’s compensation at over $14 million, and paid their top five executives over $38 million. Sunshine, as the chair of CBOE’s Compensation Committee, was close behind, handing their CEO a $9.5 million dollar check, with the compensation of their top five executives surpassing $27 million.

Northwestern administrators have estimated the total cost of a living wage policy at Northwestern to be $3.3-4 million a year. This is less than one third of the compensation Schapiro set for Marsh’s CEO last year. As a university, we should ask ourselves whether the worth of one man should be valued more than three times the collective worth of the over 600 subcontracted workers who enable Northwestern to function. The Living Wage Campaign thinks the answer to this question is clear. Do President Schapiro and Vice President Sunshine agree?

On August 31, 2011, the contract for Sodexo dining hall workers at Northwestern is due to expire. Schapiro and Sunshine have the power to tell Sodexo to pay workers at Northwestern fair wages and benefits. Just ten miles down the road, DePaul University recently raised wages of subcontracted dining hall workers from $9.25 to a minimum of between $11.80 and $14.30 per hour. DePaul’s endowment is less than four percent as large as that of Northwestern. The Northwestern endowment is now valued at $6.8 billion.

We live in a country with huge disparities in wealth. When Schapiro and Sunshine set the salaries of executives at millions of dollars and balk at paying Northwestern’s subcontracted workers a wage of $13.23 an hour with health care, they are perpetuating these inequalities.

We already know that Schapiro and Sunshine are willing to stand up for the nation’s top executives. But will they stand up for Northwestern’s subcontracted workers?

Jordan Fein
Living Wage Campaign Research Co-Director

Adam Yalowitz
Living Wage Campaign Co-Director