You know, many say it's heartless of a white-collar stiff like me trying to stiff it to blue-collar workers like those at GM.
I'm not a white-collar stiff and I’m not trying to stiff blue-collar workers anywhere. I'm just trying wake both collar workers to the reality that times have changed.
Bank execs who thought they were protected and now are not. Blue-collar workers who thought they had pensions and now may not.
Life is cruel — reality even more so. And the reality today is deals once made are now deals that have to be re-made.
I can well understand union workers who say, "But we had a pension that was set. And no force of nature can have it un-set."
Unfortunately there is a force of nature that can have it un-set: It's called bankruptcy. And woe to any worker, white or blue-collar, who doesn't see that grim reality.
It isn't right. It isn't fair. It just is. Promises should be honored, but by companies able to survive to honor them. The ugly truth is my friends, all too many do not and cannot.
Good workers often done in by bad managers and often, just bad breaks.
How many steelworkers' benefits made when times looked good, saw them evaporate, along with those companies, when times suddenly turned bad?
Workers are loathe to change benefits. They're sacrosanct. I can understand that. But better to revise a deal that keeps a company paying out than ignore concessions and end up with a company that just poops out.
It's happened. It happened to my dad who paid a lifetime into a pension that ended up being peanuts. And it's happened to me, someone who's worked at companies that today aren't even worth peanuts.
And it's happening a lot more.
Promises made to workers that once made perfect sense. Costly obligations to workers that now make no sense.
I'm not oblivious to hardship or callous to life and its cruel twists. But such is life. Companies come and go. Pensions and benefits that come and go even faster.
We can stick our head in the sand and the truth is the same. But here's the thing about sticking your head in the sand: People really can't tell whether the collar you're wearing is white or blue.
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