Quality and Quantity of Linda McMahon’s WWE Job-Creation Machine Come Under Scrutiny

In the old Woody Allen joke, an elderly lady complains about the culinary offerings at a Catskills resort: “The food – terrible! And the portions – so small!”

That’s what I was thinking when I read the excellent story in today’s Waterbury Republican-American about the outsourcing of the manufacturing of World Wrestling Entertainment licensed merchandise. See “McMahon campaigns for more American jobs, but her toys are made in China,” http://rep-am.com/news/local/483687.txt. (The full text is available only to subscribers, but the website teaser offers a good taste.)

Like the Manchester Journal Inquirer’s Don Michak in an article last week about WWE’s corporate tax breaks – which helped produce windfall stock dividends for the McMahon family even as they were trimming the staff at corporate headquarters in Stamford – the Republican-American’s Paul Hughes isn’t wasting time trying to deconstruct raunchy TV programming or nail Linda McMahon for the completely in-character name of her husband Vince’s yacht.

Instead, Hughes is raising a classic question suggested by the business background underpinning her candidacy: If WWE is such a job-creation machine, then what are the jobs and what is the quality of those jobs?

A further step would involve examining WWE’s employment onstage as well as offstage. Oh, but excuse me. I forgot that pro wrestlers are not employees. They are independent contractors. I guess that makes it OK that these “assets” drop dead in horrifying numbers caused by profiteering occupational health and safety standards – sometimes before and sometimes after their “intellectual property,” as measured by toys made in Chinese sweatshops, is exhausted.

It’s good to see at least a few Connecticut journalists hitting their stride in the coverage of the McMahon campaign.

Irv Muchnick

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May 2010

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