Nortel Forking Out $72M More in 09 Exec Bonuses

Thank the United States Thanksgiving holiday for us missing this one: 72 Nortel Networks execs are taking home $7.5 million worth of bonuses this year.

How’s that for a nice poke in the eye to pensioners, retirees and laid-off workers?

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) last week, the dozens of top managers receiving the bonus money include former treasurer John Doolittle, who’s been steering the bankrupt Nortel since Mike Zafirvoski resigned as CEO. Doolittle now ranks as Nortel’s highest-paid worker, for his $1.68 million paycheck in 2009, thanks to a compensation bump from $560,000 in 2008.

Thirteen other executives are in for a raise of $500,000 or more as well. Zafirovski, who has filed a $12 million claim against Nortel, is not among them.

Meanwhile, this plan is separate from one approved earlier this year, when Nortel proposed to pay $23 million to 92 workers and another $22 million for 880 others.

And at the same time as the new bonus debacle has surfaced, an Ontario appeals court has tossed a Canadian Auto Workers union plea for retirement and severance pay for former and fired Nortel employees.

Happy Holidays, indeed.

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