Thursday, November 17, 2016

"We just cut what we're going to pay for in the future; we hope you don't mind."

From Delaware Online's Jeff Mordock, a depressing/important bit of news that all current DuPont employees will no longer have access to a company pension (as opposed to a 401k) nor health care nor dental care in their retirement dotage*, this whopper of a statement (emphasis mine): 
Ari Jacobs, a senior partner, global retirement solutions at Aon Hewitt, the company that manages DuPont's benefit programs, said moving from pension plans to defined contribution retirement benefits has become an industry-wide trend. 
"As workers became more transient in the 1980s, they appreciated the flexibility and access to account balances offered by defined contribution plans," Jacob said. "It's been a broad trend and companies have adjusted accordingly."
The amount of passive voice and assumptions in those two sentences is just stunning. I'd rather Mr. Jacobs have said "We think we can get away with this, and we don't feel guilty."

It's important to note that this particular policy change doesn't affect current DuPont retirees. 

15 comments:

  1. Excellent calling out of the passive voice employed by this fartcatcher.

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    1. Except that nothing in those two sentences is actually in the passive voice.

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    2. Well, the second half of the first sentence uses passive.

      Completely active would be:
      "...they appreciated that defined contribution plans offered flexibility and account balances"

      Either way, the sliminess of what this guy is saying has less to do with the tone than the implication.

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  2. Not sure what the problem is here, other then typical liberal talking points.

    Switching from pension to 401K has indeed become the standard. Pfizer is phasing out the pension right now, for example. And employee do like the fact that they are paid upfront, not in a deferred fashion like the "pensioneers" working for the town of Detroit or soon to be bankrupt Chicago. Ask them whether they would prefer to have actually been paid 30 years ago onwards, or not at all through a pension plan that will be void after chapter 11.

    Dental represents barely 300-400$ a year for coverage, so who cares. As for medical coverage, americans better get used to the globally accepted idea that a private employer is not your mama, and does not have to pay for your "needs" all the way to your 100s...

    Like the new bill to be introduced in congress next week: "Suck it up, buttercup".

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    1. That would be fine, if it were also accepted that businesses aren't entitled to cheap, well-educated labor and infrastructure from governments. Unfortunately, those entitlements are yet another line item in the "socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor" budget.

      Ultimately, all of these changes mean what you did say - people are going to want the money up front rather than promises of benefits that employers can't be trusted to keep. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to happen - in the pension and health care cuts (let alone the training cuts), pay doesn't even meet the benefit loss at the beginning (sort of like block grants for Medicare), and the gap increases over time. If it were a choice between money in the bank or promises, people will take the money in the bank, but since they seem to be getting neither, they get sort of grumpy, particularly when their management gets rewarded regardless of what they do.

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  3. Sorry, but Dupont employees getting treated like the rest of us isn't going to make me feel bad.

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    1. No, except them getting treated bad/normally won't make you get treated better. More likely (why it's a hot button, at least for me), it probably gives employers more license for things to get worse ("to make benefits more [portable/convenient/other BS] for employees"). It's like a round of limbo - how low can you go, and how much dirt will you eat while dancing?

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    2. I wouldn't worry about them.

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    3. We will all treat ourselves better if we don't waste time and energy worrying about the "poor" Dupont workers. Them getting treated badly won't make me getting treated better, however me getting upset that they are getting treated like the rest of us will make me feel worse. I prefer to not drag myself down for things that aren't worth getting upset about.

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    4. Believe me, it wasn't any better here. For most of us at Dupont this is another in a long odyssey of dwindling benefits with hardly any increase in salary. Downsizings every few years, fear of being categorized 'low performing,' wide spread fear and judgement from an infantilizing atmosphere. Dupont didn't even offer a bonus program for rank & file until after 2000. And it was heavily tied to corporate profits, effectively lowering one's bonus.

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    5. Try working at a place where no cost of living increase, or bonus for that matter, hasn't been given to employees in over ten years and rarely anyone gets promoted (and thus a pay increase because of that).

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    6. I think most of us employed by US firms are in the same boat. With a labor participation rate at 1970s levels, it is an employer's market. I'll put it a bit different than Anon Nov18 10:43 am: I am thankful to still have a job and realize that all I can do is to focus on the aspects of my job that are in my control and create a collaborative environment.

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  4. And what changes did they make to the executive comp plan?

    The new attitude seems to be, "and now we suck just as badly as Walmart". What an aspiration.

    Right...

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    1. Probably larger bonuses for "saving so much money"

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    2. Exactly, Jim Collins, Ed Breen, Benito Cammi-something-something and others will enrich themselves. I can only hope that they too, somehow, will feel fear and desperation like they've forced on employees.

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