Quoted without comment . . . the following article originally appeared on commentator Jim Hightower's website on November 11th
=============================== Opinion: A model of corporate greed
AUSTIN, Texas -- In addition to being genetically disposed to greed, do CEO's of big corporations also carry the stupid gene?
Take the case of Dick Davidson, CEO of Union Pacific railroad. It's now our nation's largest rail corporation, having swallowed up such other companies as Southern Pacific, the M-K-T, Chicago & North Western, and several others. Apparently, though, Dick is not content merely to control the big trains, for he's also making a grab for the miniature ones -- as in model trains.
How stupid. Like a bear being chased by thousands of angry bees, Dick has incurred the wrath of everyone from model-train makers to the hobbyists and kids who buy the models.
What's up is that Union Pacific has suddenly demanded that model-train makers pay it a royalty on all sales of trains that bear not only its logo, but also the logos of any of the former railroads that it has absorbed. As the outraged editor of Mainline Modeler magazine put it: "The Union Pacific has interposed itself into the model railroad industry, demanding a percentage of revenues . . . without any investment whatsoever. It's simply a method of skimming a profit without providing a service. It is an outstanding example of greed."
Over the years, railroad corporations, including Union Pacific, have been delighted to be the subjects of model trains, seeing it as a form of flattery, free promotion, and goodwill. For it now to threaten and demand loot from these small modeling companies is an act of PR suicide.
Sure enough, train buffs are fighting back against what they now call "the great yellow goliath." Among other actions, they're organizing UP stockholders and buying stock themselves so they can go to next spring's shareholder meeting en masse to rail against Dick's railroad job.
Dick stupidly is buying a trainload of ill will by trying to collect this pittance in royalties. To tell Dick to wise up, call him: 402-271-5000.