Congress Raises Executive Minimum Wage To $565.15/Hr

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Vol 39 Issue 44

Al Kozlewski Pulls A Kozlewski

CUDAHY, WI—Assembled after work at Gil's Tavern, friends of Al Kozlewski agreed Tuesday that the 39-year-old steamfitter had pulled yet another Kozlewski. "Al came in and did that thing he always does," coworker Danny Fassle said. "He sat down at the table, drank two beers from a pitcher that someone else bought, and then suddenly decided that he had to get right home. A classic Kozlewski." When informed of the charges, Kozlewski said that if Fassle has a problem, he should "stop being such a Palaczyk and say it to my face."

Woman Judges Cities Solely By Their Airports

SAN MARCOS, CA—Just back from a business trip to the Midwest, Sonic Drive-In managerial trainer Joan Rupert expressed distaste for yet another city, basing her evaluation solely on the quality of its airport. "I hate Chicago," Rupert said Monday. "It's too spread-out, and there's no good shopping in any of the terminals. But I do have to admit that they have tons of super bars and restaurants. Where else but O'Hare can you buy a real Chicago hot dog?" Rupert said the only city worse than Chicago is Minneapolis, which is "always under construction."

MTV Executive Grounds Son For Recommending Good Charlotte

NEW YORK—MTV executive Phillip Blanchard, 42, grounded his 15-year-old son Joshua Monday, after the alternative-rock band Good Charlotte failed to sustain its popularity among viewers of the cable music station. "Joshua needs to learn that his choices have consequences," said Blanchard, who took away his teenage son's credit-card privileges for the week. "Maybe next time, Joshua will think twice before over-hyping some pop-punk crap." As additional punishment, Blanchard had Joshua organize the family's extensive video library of Road Rules episodes chronologically.

Ad Campaign For New $20 Bill A Success

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Department of the Treasury deemed the new multicolored $20 bill a raging success Monday, thanks to its $30 million advertising campaign. "Due to our print and TV ads, people across the nation are choosing our $20 bill when they need to exchange currency for goods and services within the United States and its territories," Secretary of the Treasury John Snow said. "We couldn't be happier. Americans agree that the Series 2004 U.S. currency is the legal tender for all debts, public and private." Due to high demand for the bill, the Treasury has already ordered second and third printings.

The Reagans

In the face of political pressure, CBS removed the miniseries The Reagans from its schedule. What controversial scenes does the program contain?
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Congress Raises Executive Minimum Wage To $565.15/Hr

WASHINGTON, DC—Congress approved a bill to increase the executive minimum wage from $515.15 to $565.15 an hour, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) announced Monday. The move marks the first increase in the wage since 1997.

DeLay announces the wage increase.

"This is good news for all Americans who work in the upper levels of commerce," DeLay said. "Almost a third of America's hard-working executives toil at corporations day after day, yet still live below the luxury line. It was about time we gave a boost to the American white-collar worker."

The wage was calculated to help executives meet the federal standard-of-easy-living mark of $1.1 million a year. DeLay said that, although his goal is to ultimately reach an executive minimum wage of $800 per hour, he was satisfied with what he characterized as a "stop-gap measure."

"Many of the thousands of Americans overseeing the nation's factories, restaurant chains, and retailers can't even afford a jet," DeLay said. "It's our long-term goal to ensure that no one who sees to it that others work hard for a living will have to go without the basic necessities of the good life."

Under the new law, the executive-minimum salary will increase to more than $1.175 million a year, plus mandatory overtime for executives who work more than seven minutes after 5 p.m., on holidays, outside of their home offices, or from a limousine or non-chartered private aircraft. A separate section of the bill includes concessions for second- and third-housing credits, as well as single-player health-spa coverage.

Top executives nationwide have repeatedly called for wage increases in recent years.

PPG Industries financial officer Brad Weston will benefit from the wage increase.

"Our lifestyles are expensive to maintain," Boeing senior vice-president of international relations Tom Pickering said. "The costs of even the most basic executive transportation, food, and clothing are staggering. Since 1993, the average cost of maintaining a household of six, including a butler, a cook, a maid, a driver, and a groundskeeper, has increased by 14 percent. All this, even after we work our fingers to the bone for hundreds of hours a year, painstakingly assembling our benefits packages. It shouldn't have to be this hard."

Some executives called for even more support, in the form of increased benefits and reimbursements.

"Well, it's a good start," said Abby Kohnstamm, IBM senior vice-president of marketing. "But I still don't get a transportation allowance for my company-owned limo. And no one has addressed the fact that almost 8 percent of my income disappears after taxes."

Nick Scheele, Ford president and chief operating officer, said he looks forward to February 2004, when the wage increase is slated to take effect.

"It's about peace of mind," Scheele said. "Executives like myself are sick of living quarterly statement to quarterly statement, forced to check our bank balances before every little real-estate purchase. We're not asking for the world, just the overseas vacations that we so desperately need."

The pay hike marks a rare instance of bipartisan cooperation in one of the most polarized congresses in U.S. history. In the U.S. Senate, only Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ) opposed the bill.

"This proves that politicians can work together when it involves the welfare of the citizens most responsible for keeping them in office," U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said. "Those of us who hold higher office don't ever forget where we came from, and how we got where we are today. This wage hike is our way of giving something back to the American people who are most important."

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