Meet David Steiner, America's Highest Paid Sanitation Worker


CONTACT: Friday Thorn,

WM CEO David Steiner(Madison, WI) – The Center for Media and Democracy's (CMD) series of profiles on "America's Highest Paid Government Workers" today puts the spotlight on David Steiner, president and CEO of Waste Management.

Waste Management, Inc., known as Waste Management or WM, is a publicly traded (NYSE: WM) for-profit waste management company headquartered in Houston, Texas. It is the largest waste collection corporation in North America, where waste management services have traditionally been provided as a public service. Waste Management has been a driving force in the privatization of these services.

In 2012, Waste Management generated $13.65 billion in total operating revenue. Approximately 50 percent of this revenue comes from taxpayers in thousands of municipalities across the country, according to Goldman Sachs.

U.S. taxpayer dollars contribute to making Steiner "America's Highest Paid Sanitation Worker." Steiner made an eye-popping $45,581,052 in compensation from 2006 to 2012. Waste Management's top executives combined made $119,201,381 from 2006 to 2012.

Prior to Steiner's tenure, Waste Management was embroiled in one of the worst accounting scandals in U.S. corporate history. In 2002, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought a lawsuit against the founder and five other former top officers of Waste Management Inc., charging them with "perpetrating a massive financial fraud lasting more than five years." Waste Management settled the case with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a whopping $26.8 million in 2005. Waste Management continues to come under fire by municipalities for its billing practices. See the CMD article, "Waste Management Reaps Treasure from Your Trash and Taxes."

"CEOs and top executives are the chief beneficiaries of outsourcing and privatization," said Lisa Graves Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. "Their salaries skyrocket while the salaries of the workers involved take a big hit. Privatization is a key driver of the race to the bottom in wages and working conditions for America's middle class."

CMD will continue to profile some of the other CEOs who are living large off the taxpayer dime this month. The effort is part of our ongoing project,, which focuses on the 12 firms doing the most to privatize public services.

Learn more about Waste Management at our SourceWatch profile. Follow the conversation at #OutsourcingAmerica.


The author listed as "PRwatch Editors" is for reports attributable to CMD's editors or guest authors.