Monday, June 8, 2015

Winning at all costs

It was ten years ago, recently, that there were a couple of things happening that affected a whole lot of people in a small town in the middle of the country. In the scope of things, and looking back, it was not a big deal. However, to those involved, it cut deep many ways.

Now, a few months later (as in, a small number of years) we had the downturn. You see, the events alluded to above were part of the mania that was all about. Oh yes, golden sacks came into town, with other players, such as a private equity firm from Canada, and jostled around the workers at a plant owned by an esteemed company which is no longer present, anywhere, closer than a two-hour drive, or so. But, for the jostled, the company had been their life; in fact, the history was long, in decades.

So, you want specifics. Well, we'll get there. This is an overview.

First, let's look at what happened. On the weekend following Memorial Day, the traditional start of summer (I know, of much more significance than that), there was a "DHL or mail" day. A bifurcation was taking place (perhaps, like, in some cases, that well-known thing of haves and have-nots). So, by this event, everyone was to learn their status with regard to the jostling.

It was clever, I will admit (yes, Nigel - kudos to you). People who were being folded into a new company were sent letters with an offer. Disclosure: I got one. Yes, mail, which is protected by Federal laws (is private, etc.). Those of the other type were visited by a DHL truck. Imagine, if you would, that you are working in your yard on an early summer day (or relaxing by the pool) and that a truck drives up. By the time this was happening, everyone in town knew of the plan. Yes, right there in front of the whole neighborhood, you were delivered your "dear john" letter telling you bye-bye; the letter said, we'll let you know when you can come to get your stuff (in the meantime, we don't want to see your face).

You see, some DHL'ers were completely taken by surprise. Those of the white-collar jobs lost contact information (and a lot more) developed over the years (oh you say, pity, pity -- I say, contrast this to the coddled crew of Google and other workplaces of many who do not know what work is).

So, we had the event of the weekend. By the end of the weekend, everyone knew their fate. Many were crushed. But, it is worse than that. Those who did not take the offer that they got in the mail (a whole bunch of other stories) were handled by means other than what one would expect in an American workplace (this much I know from personal experience (long list of unethical machinations) and desire to research it further in regard to others, at some point - 9 Years ago - from 2014).

Starting the next week, people were sorted out as to acceptance or not; and, the work began on the realizing the goal of the managers which was to create something that would pay big (yes, did they ever have big eyes - thinking of the payout). The main jefe retired recently; he had some take beyond what he would have accumulated with the company, but his windfall was minuscule compared, again, to something like Google. They did get an IPO, but the stock was under water for a long time. Being, again, at the precipice, it'll be interesting to watch the unfolding, again.


Again, this happened during the mania which we have looked at here an elsewhere. But, guess what? Today, I drove by the parking lot of a large plant which was mostly vacant. Those who did the deal above tried the same with an old and reputable firm (albeit that the thing had been sold to a conglomerate by the family). And, they loaded on so much debt (paying themselves thereby) that the thing folded; workers were left go; ...; another litany could follow. Yes, within a few miles of each other we can see the American Dream from all sides (another set of posts await).


Today, I saw that someone had read an old post, from 2008. By that time, things were getting to the bottom. Ben was frantic. ... All of this is commented on in posts in this blog. This collection (and posts from the associated blogs) will be used for a review and analysis. As in, we have sufficiently accumulated the potential for another downturn.

The 2008 post? Yes, it dealt with oops of a financial nature (not necessary, by any means).

But, too, recently, I saw that a long-pending lawsuit related to the above set of events might be settled. For $90M. After how much effort by lawyers and the parties concerned? Care to venture an amount?

As a final thing, let's look at this from the viewpoint of those jostled (in case you have not made the connection, it's the workers; no, golden sacks, and their ilk, come out smelling like a rose - ah, so much to discuss with regard to whether there can be more rationally based methods applied). The issue dealt with workers who were unlucky enough to fall within an unfortunate timeframe. Yes, they lost a lot (see what was written in 2014, for an example). With this deal, they won't get much, somewhere around $40K per worker. The company saves a lot, on the other hand.

Why? Well, excluding, for the moment, the legal aspects (after all, to know the whole deal we would have to be privy to ten years of legal wangling), this is an example of what I have been labeling "near zero" (which  may sound link Nash-ism, but is not). Those who take cause misery all around for the benefit of the few; those who give are multitude (oh, yes, peasants, essentially, according to the few).

Remarks: Modified: 06/08/2015

06/08/2015 --

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