In another public demonstration of concern about the struggling economy, President Obama will meet in Pittsburgh on Tuesday with the business and labor leaders he has chosen to counsel him on job creation.But don't worry, 99%-ers, Obama will make a public showing of concern.
But many of the chief executives have cut American jobs and adopted tactics that weaken organized labor — even as their businesses post record profits.
The executives are members of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which Obama created in January by appointing 26 leaders of companies including American Express, Comcast and Intel. (A 27th member was added in June.)
When he created the council, which also includes two labor leaders, a biologist and an economist, Obama said its members would assist him to "do everything we can to spur hiring and ensure our nation can compete with anybody on the planet."
Just days before the president appointed Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive of American Express, to the council, the company announced a massive restructuring that closed a facility in North Carolina and eliminated 550 jobs, or about 1% of the company's workforce. At the same time, American Express announced it had made $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, up 48% from the same period the previous year.
Xerox, whose chief executive, Ursula Burns, sits on the board, has cut 4,500 jobs in the first six months of 2011.
Jim McNerney, chief executive of Boeing, shrank the company's California operations because of the end of the space shuttle program and defense cutbacks. In January, Boeing said it was cutting 1,100 U.S. jobs, including 900 in Long Beach, and has since announced further cuts in Alabama and Kansas, while adding jobs elsewhere. At the same time, Boeing reported that profits rose 20%, to $941 billion in the second quarter of 2011.
Some companies have been cutting jobs for years. Eastman Kodak, whose chief executive, Antonio M. Perez, is a member of the council, has completed a number of layoffs at its Rochester, N.Y., manufacturing facilities. Between 2004 and 2011, Kodak's Rochester workforce shrank by 9,200 to 7,100.
A handful of companies with leaders who serve on the council have received government funding for research and job creation projects under the Obama administration. General Electric, for example, received $210 million in stimulus funds, making it one of five companies on the council that received a combined $610 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to data posted on Recovery.gov, the government website that tracks stimulus dollars.