Friday, January 30, 2015

The real bullies


   The first-hand accounts of this week's mass layoffs of Tim Hortons administrative employees were sickening and all-too-familiar for anyone who's been a victim of corporate downsizing.  And I don't use the term "victim" lightly, because what happened to the 350 people summarily stripped of their livelihoods by Tim Hortons parent company was predatory and psychopathic.
   I speak from experience.  When I was given the bum's rush by Bell Media in 2013, we got the obligatory speech about "redundancies and inefficiencies" used to justify widespread job cuts after a corporate merger.  In my case, there was also a personal element, because an old boss became the new boss and was all too happy to settle a grudge dating back to when I publicly called him a "corporate errand boy" after voluntarily leaving his employ in 2010.  I burned the bridge and paid the price and that's on me, but how they went about "replacing" me speaks volumes about the modern corporate mindset.  My job as a morning show co-host was given to someone who was already working full-time at another radio station across the hall.  He now spends his mornings running back and forth between two radio stations, doing the work of two people and getting paid for one.  I can't speak for other industries, but it's standard practice in broadcasting today for one person to be filling roles that used to be handled by multiple people.  The quality of the product is compromised, but mediocrity is acceptable if it means maximizing the profit margin.  
   Who benefits?  That's easy: every dollar saved by cutting payroll means higher bonuses for the corporate executives who oversee the cost-cutting.  Shareholders benefit from higher share prices, and considering that shares are a standard feature of executive compensation packages, the suits cash in twice on the misery of others.
   I get that it's capitalism and free enterprise, but at some point doesn't humanity count for something?  I worked for some tough people when family dynasties ran radio, but they at least understood the concepts of honor, loyalty and compassion.  The corporate mentality takes none of those things into account.  It's about numbers, not people, and it's a driving force behind the steady erosion of the middle class and a future bereft of opportunity.     
     

4 comments:

  1. I feel really bad for the employees that lost their job but what do you expect when the these crappy food companies are owned by investment firms halfway around the world (BK is owned by some Brazilian firm). I always find it crazy that a company's stock shoots up the day after mass layoffs are announced. Our system is flawed. Mr. Burns we were forecasted to make 1.1 billion in profits this year but we only made 1 billion, well then fire half the staff. It kills me but like you said, making the handful of majority shareholders more money is all that counts. On a side note, I don't understand how people still eat the garbage at Tim Hortons and especially at BK, it's not even real food, its junk made in a factory and shipped in. That includes the horrible chemical spiked doughnuts. It's all filth.

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    1. I was ignorant in believing donuts were actually made at the stores until one employee told me they're all shipped-in frozen by trucks. The employees then zap 'em a few seconds in microwave then inject them with filling.

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  2. I wonder if the expansion of Tim Horton's had somethig to do with this, as it is with Starbucks in Vancouver where you can sometimes find a Starbucks within two or three blocks of each other. They just over-franchised and now have to put the brakes on that. Which is a tough break for the employees who have to bear the brunt of the corporation's greed..

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  3. Ted, I hate it when I agree with you on a non-sports matters. It's like when I (very occasionally) agree with Tommy Schnurmacher, just ruins my day.

    As for that sports radio station where you worked. The guy running across the hall has absolutely no chemistry with Price and Starr unlike you. The show has suffered but hey, the bonus were probably there in 2014 for management.

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