To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Promises Made, Promises Broken

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BY BOB BEARDEN

The bottom-line always trumps [no pun intended] the employee human factor.

Walgreen eviscerates its agreement to pay a part of the healthcare costs with their longtime loyal employees who are now retired because they care more about pacifying their stockholders than they do about longtime loyal employees. Employees whom they required loyalty from as a consequence of employment.

Employers routinely hire employees and offer them certain benefits that often include health benefits. Many employers agree either through their own good will or through employee contracts to help subsidize their retiree’s health benefits. That is a good thing … well, it is, until it isn’t. Suddenly when the bottom line tightens that becomes more important than the lives of their employees and especially former employees.

For companies and corporations, loyalty only goes one way. Employees are required to promise fealty to their company when hired. On the other hand corporations feel no such compunction towards their employees.

When a corporation’s bottom line is threatened that always outweighs the agreements they make with their employees when they hire them. And since many millions of employees have no union contracts to rely upon, they have to depend upon the good will of their employers for such things as help with health benefits – especially into their so-called ‘Golden Years,’ which aren’t so golden when those benefits are summarily taken away.

Companies and corporations aren’t about caring what happens to their employees after they retire. Any agreement they make with them for aiding them in their retirement years can and often is abrogated when it comes to their bottom line and the profits they reserve for their CEOs and stockholders.

Humans are expendable and the older you are the more expendable you become in the corporate world.

Sure, you see all the wonderful things corporations and companies claim they do to help their neighbors and those less advantaged, in the millions they spend on touting their brand in commercials. But behind the scenes at these same corporations and companies, they espouse an entirely different line.

And many of them believe that once you retire from their company, you aren’t human anymore. Just a liability – that if you become a hindrance to more and more profits, then you are expendable. They care more about their pets than they do about former longtime employees who gave them 30 or 40 of the most productive years of their lives. Not to mention the loyalty to their brand.

Employees who were loyal to a fault, who showed up to work every day and did what they were told become liabilities as soon as they retire and any agreement that is supposed to carry on after their retirement can be quickly broken and set aside when the company’s bottom line is threatened.

It’s the way our nation has progressed over the years. Old longtime employees now are often just a number on a profit margin chart that can be summarily dismissed without one twitch of remorse or feeling of guilt. They’re retired and no longer productive to the bottom-line, so ditch them and let the government worry about them.

And now our government is in the hands of people who don’t give a rat’s ass and say, “tough sh*t, let’s cut Social Security, let’s cut Medicare!”

The end game is, once you are no longer an asset you become a liability. And in a world of for-profit only, that can be a death sentence for many of our seniors.

Once we had women and men like Frances Perkins, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson who cared what happened to our seniors in their ‘Golden Years.’Now, we have misogynistic liars in charge who make many promises, but keep none.

I remember the words of the great Lakota Chief Red Cloud who said about the old white men of his time, “They made us many promises, but they kept only one. They promised to take our land and they took it!” We have many old white employers who make us many promises to get us to work for them, but they seldom keep those promises.

It’s a P.T. Barnum world. They look upon us as suckers and, as Barnum said, “There’s one born every minute!”

We the people must at some point decide that we’ve had enough of charlatans who make us many promises but keep only one. They promise to leave us without health care and our social safety net and they work diligently to keep that promise.

When will we say enough is enough?

Bob Bearden is a trustee with the Central Labor Federation and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church UCC in Oklahoma City

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