Verizon To Lay Off 1,700 Workers After Paying CEO $22 Million Last Year

America’s largest wireless service provider plans to cut 1,700 jobs by offering its technicians and call center employees buyouts. Verizon Communications announced last week that it would reduce its nationwide workforce by 1 percent, and if enough workers don’t accept the buyouts, it will resort to involuntary layoffs.

Verizon paid chief executive Lowell C. McAdam more than $22.5 million in 2011, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of executive compensation. The company has paid its top five executives more than $350 million in the last five years, according to the Communications Workers of America, the union that deals most directly with Verizon:

More than half of McAdam’s compensation package came from “Performance Awards,” according to the WSJ analysis. In 2011, the company’s shareholders saw an 18.8 percent increase in the value of their returns. Workers, however, have not shared in those gains. Verizon eliminated 26,000 jobs over a two-year period in 2008 and 2009 — including 16,000 jobs in 2009 alone — and laid off roughly 13,000 more in 2010.

At the same time, Verizon has demanded sizable concessions from workers in its negotiations with unions, asking for the elimination of the company’s pension plan, increases in health care premiums, and extra leeway to outsource jobs, according to a release from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.