American corporate greed has reached even lower levels.
“Sears is seeking court approval to pay executives as much as $25 million in annual bonuses while the company struggles to restructure in bankruptcy.
Three top executives could get nearly $1 million each if the company goes out of business. If Sears remains in business, they could get nearly $500,000 each for hitting the top performance targets.
Sears filed two different types of bonus plans in bankruptcy court Thursday. The first is for the top 18 “key” executives, who would collectively get as much as $2.1 million per quarter up to a maximum of $8.5 million. The bonuses would only be paid in full if Sears reaches its cash-flow targets. Sears Holdings, which includes both Sears and Kmart, has been burning through cash at a rate of about $125 million a month.
A second retention bonus plan was designed to encourage 322 other unnamed executives to stay put during Sears’ reorganization. They would collectively get $16.9 million over the course of a year, which works out to an average of about $52,000 annually per executive. No executive could receive more the $150,000 in bonuses for staying with the company during the bankruptcy process.
A judge’s approval is needed before the bonuses could be paid. A hearing on the plans is set for December 20.
The company wants to retain as many executives as it can, but Sears is laying off employees who staffed hundreds of stores it is closing. Many hourly workers claim they will not be paid severance.
Shelia Brewer, who worked for 17 years as a full-time hourly employee at a Kmart in Rockford Illinois, said the company told her she’d get eight weeks of severance. Instead, she received a letter saying that severance payments were being halted because of the bankruptcy, and she would get only the four weeks of pay she had already received.”
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