My philosophy on business and wealth is simple. The wealth – and the health - of a community is as much a reflection of its citizens as it is of the corporations that operate there. Therefore, in order for a corporation to contribute in a meaningful way to the health of that community it must pay its workers decent living wages so that the wealth trickles out to everyone in the community.
PEPCan Manufacturing will be run as a democratic corporation, a corporate structure that closely resembles a co-op. The differences between the two are virtually indistinguishable.
With all of the people who work at PEPCan owning shares in the company, and all having a say in how the company is run, those who work here will share in a benefit system that rewards their contribution with free daycare, decent living wages, extra compensation for overtime work, group insurance programs and more.
There will always be a need to have different scales of wages for different levels of responsibilities, but the differences between the workers’ wages and the wages for those with larger responsibilities in a co-op aren’t nearly as pronounced as they are in a top-down corporation. It’s not uncommon to hear about one of today’s corporations paying their higher executives 80 to 100 times the average salaries of its workers.
That’s why I will never, as president, ask for more than six times the compensation of the lowest paid employee. I have no desire to hoard money in a vault somewhere just for the sake of saying I have it - and being paid six times the wages of someone who earns a decent middle class wage is way more than enough for me to comfortably live on.
However large the company gets, it will inevitably start out-sourcing materials and services from outside companies. PEPCan will only deal with other companies who pay fair living wages to their own people.
When we become international in scope, the same will apply wherever we operate. We will always compensate our people at a level higher than what it takes to provide a good living wage in the location of operation. And we will always work in an environmentally responsible way wherever we operate.
In addition, any company that does work for us - anywhere on the planet - will by policy need to supply us with proof that they operate in accordance with those policies and that a safe work environment is in place that guarantees each and every employee the freedom and security we all deserve as members of the human family.
When a corporation is run by its employees, there tends to be a much higher level of efficiency because the people who actually do the work have input into the changes that will make things easier and cheaper to do. When people can see that their input is valuable, that it has value that’s being appreciated, that it manifests in changes for the better, they are much more empowered to do more.
One of the largest co-ops in the world, Mondragon Corporation of Spain, boasts a workforce of 83,000 people, with 250 companies operating around the world and $25 billion in annual sales.