Opinion

PSE changes reflect working changes

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Last week's news that Puget Sound Energy might subcontract and subsequently lay off a good chunk of its workforce came as no surprise here. Corporate America, whether we like it or not, is far

more concerned about the bottom line than the people who have made them

what they are. It is a trend that Boeing is now wrestling with and has the potential

to further the crevasse between company management and its labor force.

Why would a company take such drastic action, so as to disrupt their

employees to such a great extent? Well for one, competition, and in the area

of electricity, it's likely deregulation. PSE appears to be reacting to the

potential changes brought about by deregulation. Ultimately, large publicly held

companies have to answer to the stockholders. And many times, the average

worker bears the brunt of any changes brought about by shareholder value.

I'm not saying it's the right thing to do. It would seem a more logical

approach would be to bring in the unions and employees and explain the

nature of the changes. It's possible that instead of laying off its work force, PSE

could ask the workers for concessions. Hey, it all boils down to trust, and if the

trust is there, the right things will happen.

But in the case of Boeing, it appears that one-half of the work force is

more important than the other. The IAM-represented employees saw a CEO

named Phil Condit ride into negotiations atop his trusty steed and pull out all the

stops to make sure all parties were happy. The same cannot be said for his

involvement in the SPEEA negotiations. Seems he is playing favorites and if it's all

in the taste of competition, then things have spoiled a bit.

So corporate America is changing and the employee, who once

commanded his own wages, benefits, etc., is under attack once again. In the future,

training and marketability will be the key and loyalty will quickly go out the window.

To those PSE employees who face drastic changes in their lifestyles,

thanks for all the hard work in keeping us plugged in. For employees in other

large corporations, remember, you're the only one watching out for you.

Jim McKiernan

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