Unlike at publicly traded corporations, we don’t know just how unequal things are between the employees of those privately held corporations and their owners. Might those owners be stingier with workers?
I began to wonder about this when I saw an announcement by Ronald Cameron, the owner and CEO of the poultry processing Mountaire Corporation, of bonuses he’d decided to give his hourly employees. Those bonuses, he said, were made possible by the tax legislation recently passed by the Republican Congress.
Mountaire, according to Forbes, has 6,000 employees and just over $2 billion in annual revenue. If every employee qualified for the maximum bonus of $1,000 Cameron announced, Mountaire’s employees would receive $6 million in bonuses total.
Cameron, I’d noticed, is also a major Republican donor. He contributed over $14 million to Republican candidates for the 2016 election, including $2.4 million to Trump.
In other words, he was substantially more generous with politicians than with the 6,000 employees whose hard work has made him a very rich man.
What then, I wondered, might the income distribution be for the population at Mountaire — that is, the 6,000 employees and Cameron? What percentage of Mountaire’s profit does Cameron pay to his 6,000 employees, and how much does he keep for himself?
Mountaire doesn’t release that information. But we can make an educated guess based on what we know about similarly sized, publicly traded poultry processing companies.
Based on profit margins from those companies, along with data from a recent salary survey of Mountaire employees, Mountaire likely is paying $180 million or less in wages to its 6,000 employees each year — leaving about $200 million in pre-tax profits for CEO and owner Cameron.