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Old 12-13-2018, 08:13 PM   #1
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What a strange world (beware no boat subject)

Ok to lift any comments about this, I know I may look candide, I may look like an utopist dreamer, I am neither communist socialist or any -ist word, and I am well aware about the world we live in, so do not bother about this.
I am working for an historical Canadian company that just lay off something like 2 to 300 hundred permanent employees and same number of contractual ones after making a press release of historical record earnings.
Don't mind me I am not bashing, I have no interest and I am not part of that layoff.
But we are leaving on a strange world, where shareholders value worth more than human capital and the future of our kids, where we prefer to bid more on automation than in knowledge... I have no kid so I am the least concerned about our future as anything that will last after me will be a bunch of ashes... But god that I am worrying about next generations I just feel sad to see that we forget about the value of a human mind.

L
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:52 PM   #2
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Ok to lift any comments about this, I know I may look candide, I may look like an utopist dreamer, I am neither communist socialist or any -ist word, and I am well aware about the world we live in, so do not bother about this.
I am working for an historical Canadian company that just lay off something like 2 to 300 hundred permanent employees and same number of contractual ones after making a press release of historical record earnings.
Don't mind me I am not bashing, I have no interest and I am not part of that layoff.
But we are leaving on a strange world, where shareholders value worth more than human capital and the future of our kids, where we prefer to bid more on automation than in knowledge... I have no kid so I am the least concerned about our future as anything that will last after me will be a bunch of ashes... But god that I am worrying about next generations I just feel sad to see that we forget about the value of a human mind.

L

With you on this, generally.

Maybe more a Harbor Chat thread than here.

But let me maybe smooth your worries a bit:

The J&J Credo hits 75 years old this week. Crafted by General Johnson in 1943, it reads;

Our Credo
We believe our first responsibility is to the patients, doctors and nurses, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services. In meeting their needs everything we do must be of high quality. We must constantly strive to provide value, reduce our costs and maintain reasonable prices. Customers' orders must be serviced promptly and accurately. Our business partners must have an opportunity to make a fair profit.

We are responsible to our employees who work with us throughout the world. We must provide an inclusive work environment where each person must be considered as an individual. We must respect their diversity and dignity and recognize their merit. They must have a sense of security, fulfillment and purpose in their jobs. Compensation must be fair and adequate and working conditions clean, orderly and safe. We must support the health and well-being of our employees and help them fulfill their family and other personal responsibilities. Employees must feel free to make suggestions and complaints. There must be equal opportunity for employment, development and advancement for those qualified. We must provide highly capable leaders and their actions must be just and ethical.

We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well. We must help people be healthier by supporting better access and care in more places around the world. We must be good citizens – support good works and charities, better health and education, and bear our fair share of taxes. We must maintain in good order the property we are privileged to use, protecting the environment and natural resources.

Our final responsibility is to our stockholders. Business must make a sound profit. We must experiment with new ideas. Research must be carried on, innovative programs developed, investments made for the future and mistakes paid for. New equipment must be purchased, new facilities provided and new products launched. Reserves must be created to provide for adverse times. When we operate according to these principles, the stockholders should realize a fair return.

J&J isn't the only company which had a culture like this and continues to live by it. There are many others.

We will be OK.
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:13 PM   #3
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Hmm. Try searching J&J recalls and law suits. Their skirts are not all that clean.
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:31 PM   #4
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These days are gone...
https://youtu.be/Kh0ibjXCnxY
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:48 PM   #5
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Lou, while there could be some other reason than pure greed,those 400-600 people might be one reason for the company achieving the record earnings. And now they are gone, at Christmas?
A friend who worked in "Change" at a big bank resigned, rather than be involved in the Bank putting off a large number of staff.
If they did it once, they could do it again.
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:53 PM   #6
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Any time you're not certain about 'how things are going' think about how someone at some point in the past might have had the same thoughts.

No doubt there were concerned Romans about the whole state of affairs. Or Mayans on seeing those sails on the horizon. Or First Peoples in the North America. Or factory workers laboring for Carnegie and his ilk. To say nothing of those caught in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. Or any number of others in the middle of what seemed like pretty dire circumstances.

History texts don't usually cover this, what with the whole "written by the winners" perspective and all.

As always, time will tell.
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:37 PM   #7
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I almost became a victim of the maximize profit at all cost mindset.

Our previous Prime Minister trumpeted that letter mail was dropping precipitously, so there was a crisis at Canada Post. He started a program to eliminate letter carriers and began putting in centralized neighbourhood outdoor mailbox units.

At the same time, they were building humungous parcel distribution plants strategically placed across the country to handle the upcoming Internet shopping parcel boom. Turns out that whatever losses there were in letter mail revenue, were more than made up for by the crazy increase in parcel volumes.

There never was a crisis, just a short lived opportunity to 'massage the truth' and get rid of letter carriers. Lucky for me, another government came to power and stopped the community mailbox program and I got to keep the job I love.

We've been renovating our home, so my salary gets salted around the community. I pick up peoples kids when they fall off their bikes. I call the fire department when alarms are going off in someones house when they're on holidays. I bring lost dogs home. We have a program where if elderly people who live on their own haven't taken in the mail from the day before, I call our supervisor who has a list of contact numbers for that person.

It's good to have people working. It's not all about maximizing profit.
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:40 PM   #8
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Lou, while there could be some other reason than pure greed,those 400-600 people might be one reason for the company achieving the record earnings. And now they are gone, at Christmas?
A friend who worked in "Change" at a big bank resigned, rather than be involved in the Bank putting off a large number of staff.
If they did it once, they could do it again.
Indeed these people were part of the reason of the earnings, some got knowledge that will be ever missed, and like you wrote 2 week's before xmas there were cut off. I know there is a reason, accounting reason, and this is the bitter part where accounting prevail over people... Like I said I am not naive, this is the way it is but... Is this the way it should be? I mean shouldn't we invest is our future? In the future of our kids? I do not worry about mine as I do not have any but about yours... Making money is something but isn't creating value to our society any better?
Well I guess I am just too naive and ignorant to get any sense out of this.

L
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:07 PM   #9
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Greetings,
Mr. L_t. I hear ya' brother. I was laid off in '92. As I recall, the middle of December. Long story short, I was never one to kiss butt. The butt kissers, for the most part were kept on. Hmmm...I wonder how that works?
No one, as far as I know, got laid off in administration or management. Some got bought out for BIG $$ but the ones that stayed got shifted around, re-titled and still had a job. They even hired more HR people to administer the lay-offs!


Evidently, according to HR, any bozo standing on the street corner could do my job at 1/2 the salary. Well, when you're one of only 25 people in the COUNTRY that did my job that makes a lot of sense. Another problem was since my skills were so specialized, there was absolutely no chance I could get another job in the field.



As a result of complaints by my in-house client base I was taken back on a "term contact". Meaning my position was renewed every 6 mos. sometimes a year. This went on for 7 years until upper management was yet again reorganized and someone realized that "Hey, RTF is a valued employee...Let's sign him back on in a continuing position". Well, DUH! Thanks for putting me through 7 years of not knowing if I'd be working in 6 months. Sheer hell.


The next 15 years were spent trying to regain those promotions I'd been passed over for during my 7 term years. Partially successful.


Nope, too many chiefs, not enough Indians.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:04 AM   #10
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... but... Is this the way it should be? I mean shouldn't we invest is our future? In the future of our kids? I do not worry about mine as I do not have any but about yours... Making money is something but isn't creating value to our society any better?
Well I guess I am just too naive and ignorant to get any sense out of this.L
It may not feel nice, but a business normally exists to make money. If it can make more money by operating with less staff while retaining enough staff to keep its customers happy, it probably will.
One huge problem with corporations is executive remuneration, especially bonuses. About one third of company Annual Reports gets devoted to justifying the unjustifiable, Executive/Director pay levels. Bonuses encourage management to do awful short term things,so as to hit the level at which they get bonuses,and it ain`t always pretty. As some of our Banks are discovering, one just suffered an heroic 64% shareholder vote AGAINST the remuneration report. If they get even a 25% vote against, 2 years running, the Board gets declared vacant.
(Note: I don`t like the word "compensation" so have not used it, except here, I think it`s a BS term)
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:24 AM   #11
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It's not as simple as it appears. I've been on both sides, mostly in union businesses. As a seaman, captain, worker, manager and owner. I don't have any idea of how Canada's taxes are applied, but that's part of the picture. Also future company plans, competition, existing work load and technology changes in their industry they have to match. And the CEO and other company officers may get bonuses based on the stock price or dividends. If you don't like the tax laws or business rules, you may need to vote differently.
Some businesses do the opposite. They keep too many employees, too long in changing business conditions. Sometimes to the detriment of the company. I did that once. I always had a strong connection to the workers, probably from being in the military and as a union member. But I came to realize that sometimes the best way to keep the most people employed is to lay off extra people, stockpile money and pay off debt.
Britain after WWII, under the labor party, destroyed most of their industry. They put workers with no management experience on companies board of directors, made many worker friendly rules without the ability to foresee what their effect would be on business, made it difficult to lay off extra workers. And taxed the crap out of everything and everyone. There is no more British steel, most of the car companies are gone, the diesel engine makers, shipyards, textile mills, all gone. They used to build most of the worlds ships. Britain made their own products uncompetitive in the world market.

Healthy businesses, people with money to invest are the only real sources that can expand or build new factories. Western governments are too deeply in debt to finance anything. A light industrial factory costs 5 million or more, a new shipyard cost at least hundreds of millions, same for a steel plant or rolling mill.

When you over tax and over regulate you're killing your future. Look at California. Once the most moved to state is now the state with the most people and businesses leaving

And I'm not even going into 'isms.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:42 AM   #12
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Look at California. Once the most moved to state is now the state with the most people and businesses leaving.
And yet, in 2017, 6th among the 50 states in growth rate and still the largest economy of any state by a very large margin (162% of #2 Texas).
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:11 AM   #13
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The road goes both ways.
My sister worked for a computer company since graduating college, that was bought by another computer company, that was bought by another computer company, that was bought by Hewlett Packard. Eventually HP split into 2 companies. The one my sister was forced into decided that their department would be more cost effective if outsourced to another country. At 62 she is trying to find another job to provide healthcare for her 57 year old husband, a self employed carpenter and diabetic.

A friend of mine goes to work for an accounting company that pays continuing education, to get his actuarial license / degree. He marries a woman who works for the same company. They decide she will be a stay at home mom. She takes maternity leave (with full pay) after the baby is born. Then she uses up the balance of her vacation time, sick leave, personal days, and then quits. The husband gets his actuarial license, quits, and they move to a different state. Does anybody feel sorry for the company that invested all that money to retain 2 good employees? Does anybody feel the couple abused the company's generosity to their longterm employees?

Ted
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:42 AM   #14
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I used to work for a nuclear power plant. One year a genius vice president decided to cut costs by reducing the number of engineers on staff. So he offered separation packages to the WHOLE engineering dept. Then they let too many go. The most experienced took a bag of money across the river to an engineering firm that did contract work for us with a raise. We had many come back wearing a different helmet as contractors for quadruple the rate. It took years and many dollars to recover from that bonehead move. PS the genius that started it all was fired in 6 months.
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:54 AM   #15
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In 2007 I got "downsized" after working there for 26 years. I was devastated.
However, after severance, state unemployment (double dipping actually) I landed another job at much more $$.

I made more money that year than any other.

The icing was that 5 years later I worked back at that place for 3 years as a consultant making lots more.

Getting layed off was a great thing for me.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:17 AM   #16
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And yet, in 2017, 6th among the 50 states in growth rate and still the largest economy of any state by a very large margin (162% of #2 Texas).
California doesn’t seem to be headed to a good place, middle class wise.

In the agency I worked, even years ago, getting transferred to California, especially to San Francisco, was considered a death sentence, because of the housing prices, and cost of living, versus the meager cost of living adjustment to our pay to cope with it.

A friend just went out there to interview for a job (a promtion in a national company) He quickly figured out he would need double the pay he was making (in Louisiana) to maintain his same lifestyle, while they were only offering a fifty per cent increase.

I’m glad it works for some out there, but it only seems to do that for those on the very ends of the income spectrum, from what I have observed. The somewhat rich (and, above), and the recent third world immigrants, (who think they have died and gone to heaven at minimum wage pay).
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:14 AM   #17
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Increasingly young people are favoring socialized government and they may be missing the target. Corporations were more socialized in earlier times before they were adapted for the hoarding of capital. Perhaps the pendulum has swung too far toward the hoarding side.


Governments are corporations too but that's another story.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:31 AM   #18
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Governments are corporations too but that's another story.
Well, government, and corporations, both seem to be hard wired to try and expand, whether there is demand for their product or not.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:10 AM   #19
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So sorry Lou, no easy answer. What company?

Unfortunately, changes are reality. Businesses get started to payback the investment the the owners and shareholders made to get the venture going. Nothing complicated here. Look at the ventures that have failed and owners and shareholders saw their investment go poof.

For starters, Sears, livery stables, dog racing, newsprint business, Tacoma Smelter, GE, Tucker Automobiles, Ma Bell, studebaker, Pontiac, US Steel, RayMarine, Gencor and on and on. One to happen, Tesla maybe, and guess who will bounce right back? Fortunes diminished or lost, employees out the gate sensible assets sold at a huge discount yada yada.

Live long enough and not be a government employee, layoffs and cutbacks are a way of life. Sad, in many cases devastating and other times a surprisingly good path for the future.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:21 AM   #20
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Well, government, and corporations, both seem to be hard wired to try and expand, whether there is demand for their product or not.
Don't know if that's completely true of corporations. I think they try to become more efficient and profitable, but not necessarily bigger. Suburban Propane would be a good example. While they will buy up smaller companies when the price is right, their consumer base continues to shrink as more areas are converted to natural gas (cheaper for the consumer). For them, it's about efficiency, not growth.

Ted
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