Big pay, fewer jobs: BNY Mellon cuts people while inflating execs' comp

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Bank of New York Mellon's announcement last week that it will cut 1,500 jobs from its global workforce was met, no doubt, with different reactions from different corners.

The bank, which employs a total of 49,000 including 7,700 in the Pittsburgh region, sees it as a necessary move to reduce costs that have grown "substantially faster" than revenues. A spokesman said BNY Mellon will try to keep layoffs down by eliminating positions through attrition, a hiring freeze and less use of temporary help.

The employees now living in fear of losing a job when the U.S. unemployment rate is over 9 percent wonder why the company has chosen to economize on the backs of its lower-paid workers.

CEO Robert Kelly and the corporation's next four top executives received total compensation in 2010 of $55.6 million -- an enormous sum, considering the bank was graded "F" on compensation practices by a corporate governance consultant. Glass Lewis gave BNY Mellon a failing grade because it "paid significantly more than its peers but performed moderately worse."

All of which poses a question relevant to the national economy: If BNY Mellon were to trim the pay bundle for its top five execs by 20 percent -- $11.1 million -- how many family-sustaining jobs could it save?

At a salary of $40,000 per year, 277 people. Pay them all $35,000 a year, and the bank could employ 317 -- more than 21 percent of the positions it plans to cut.

And Americans wonder why there's 9 percent unemployment.


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