As railroad workers, we are no strangers to companies crying broke despite having billions in the bank. Like the railroads, many companies have claimed that the corporate tax was strangling them and was the reason they were moving jobs out of the United States. A small disclaimer, many large corporations have been using loopholes and tactics to avoid having much of their profits subject to the corporate tax. Regardless, with the passing of the “Tax Cuts And Jobs Act”, these companies suddenly claimed that they want to share their excitement of increased profits and money in their pockets with their employees in the form of “trump bonuses”.
One of the companies dishing out a “trump bonus” was Kansas City Southern (KCS), a company employing some of our Brothers. Unsurprisingly, national news network, Fox News, and politicians, including Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, and Missouri Senator, Roy Blunt, gave praise to KCS. This was after its President and CEO, Patrick J. Ottensmeyer, reported that they would be giving a one-time $1,000.00 bonus to “qualified, non-executive employees” in both its U.S. and Mexico subsidiaries. Ottensmeyer stated:
“Kansas City Southern is pleased with the passage of this legislation and optimistic about what it could mean for our customers, investors and growth in the U.S. economy, as well as trade growth with Mexico. KCS wants to share the benefit with our employees, who work so hard to serve our customers and increase shareholder value.”
Senator Roy Blunt stated “The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act is already benefitting hardworking Missourians, Kansas City Southern awards its employees with year-end bonus”. Unfortunately, KCS must not consider our Brothers as part of its hardworking employees, who work so hard to serve their customers and increase shareholder value. Instead, KCS awarded the one-time $1,000.00 bonuses to management employees, whom already typically receive one or two bonuses a year.
This news further displays that optimism must be gauged after providing corporations, which have been given more rights than many humans in today’s society, with a permanent tax cut and ability to consume more land and resources, while only giving hard-working Americans a temporary tax cut and removing previous tax benefits that were provided. One piece of truth is the term “trump bonus” because similar to much of the attitude and statements from Washington, it is only a half-truth used by partisan politicians to fool good people into believing legislation that increase profits and stock prices for companies whom already make astronomical profits, somehow equates to a benefit for the hard-working middle class American. To rub salt in the wound, KCS provided some of the bonuses to employees in Mexico, despite the tax bill being passed and effecting only employees in the United States. It is unfortunate to have KCS using this platform to provide misleading statements, echoed by politicians and news networks alike, that imply all employees receiving a bonus and “sharing the benefit” with the average joe, when the reality is that it is all smoke and mirrors with the middle class tossed aside once more.