September 12, 2011 -- Members of Connecticut Working Families will hold a candle-light vigil for the middle class Thursday outside Pfizer’s research facility in Groton. The vigil will highlight the thousands of jobs Pfizer is eliminating in Connecticut, despite receiving enormous public subsidies. [Editor's Update 9/14: A small band of protesters held the vigil last night--see TheDay.com's report for more.]
According to the New London Day, Pfizer received $160 million from Connecticut taxpayers, before eliminating over 1000 jobs in Connecticut. Pfizer has announced 58,000 layoffs across the nation since 2004.
“When huge companies like Pfizer take tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in public money, and then pull up stakes as soon as the money disappears, that’s what wrong with our economy,” says Lindsay Farrell, Legislative Director of Connecticut Working Families. “We can’t keep letting big companies take advantage of us, or the middle class won’t survive in Connecticut.”
Pfizer is a tremendously profitable corporation, having made $8 billion in profit in 2010. As the company was shedding jobs locally and around the country, in 2010 former CEO Peter Kindler was given major raise, being paid nearly $15 million.
Corporate tax breaks in Connecticut have exploded, from less than $3 million annually in 1987 to over $300 million in 2009, according to a report by Connecticut Voices for Children. A recent study by the Council on State Taxation found that Connecticut has the lowest business taxes of all fifty states.
Connecticut Working Families is a coalition of community organizations, labor unions and neighborhood activists who united to fight for a fair economy. Working Families was formed to inject issues like affordable healthcare, living wage jobs and fair taxes into the public debate, and to hold politicians accountable on those issues.