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.