If one is properly attuned, even the most innocuous seeming news story can be rife with outrage.
For instance. I do not usually have the time to read the USA Toady, which is delivered with the local newspaper each morning, but this morning was enjoying a leisurely breakfast out and so had time to do so. Front page, below the fold, the “newspaper” chirpily reports the following:
Pet insurance, at-your-desk meditation services, jewelry discounts and funeral planning — from the quirky to the somber, workplaces are providing a range of unique benefits in 2012.
The options come as many firms try to placate employees frustrated by pay cuts, heavy workloads, high health insurance costs and reduced 401(k) matches.
“Companies are trying to have it feel like it’s not one big take-away,” says John Bremen, a managing director at employer consultancy Towers Watson. “They are trying to find ways to appeal to the workforce.”
Here’s a crazy idea. Pay them money.
Many voluntary benefits — such as reduced-price computers and pet insurance due to group-buying discounts — won’t gouge a corporate budget.
“On the employer side, there’s a recognition that they can’t always add to the benefits program in a way they have in the past,” says Ronald Leopold, national medical director at MetLife. “But they want to offer employees different things and a broader set of (choices).”
Businesses are using these perks to make harried workers feel valued, as well as to help them balance personal and professional needs.
I have a crazy idea on how to make employees feel “valued.” PAY THEM MONEY.
The whole article is like this. Chirp, chirp, lookit the employers trying to get more chintzy, la, la, la. And, by the way, if you’re reading the article waiting for a quote from Dick Trumka or Leo Gerard, you’ll be reading a long time. Why would USA Toady bother to talk to union leadership about this?
This news story flat-out comes out and says, by the way, companies are doing everything they can to weasel out of paying people good wages, and there’s USA Toady, just chirping along as if they’re reporting about Russell Brand’s latest boob job. Isn’t this an issue that’s just screaming for deeper reporting? Hello? Employers in these Untied States cannot find enough ways to screw you out of better wages! And this pathetic waste of newsprint doesn’t have the time to get Dick Trumka on the line?
But that’s where it’s at in this country. Labor issues have been so minimized that “mainstream” news outlets don’t even think to report that side of the story anymore, and in fact these news outlets are so corporate that they wouldn’t dare if it even occurred to them to do so. As a favorite radio talker of mine is fond of saying often: The News Has Been Canceled.
Firms such as S.C. Johnson, TD Bank and Travelocity provide discounted health coverage for workers’ pets through Petplan Pet Insurance. Petplan “has seen tremendous growth in this area of voluntary benefits,”co-CEO Chris Ashton says. “In this struggling economy, employers are increasingly looking for low-cost options to keep their employees happy.”
Yet, it can be tough to meet the needs and wants of a diverse workforce. “No one strategy is going to necessarily impact all employees equally,” Leopold says. “What’s good for one (employee) isn’t necessarily good for the other.”
I know of a strategy that’s good for ALL employees, you weasel. PAY THEM MONEY, PAY THEM MONEY, PAY THEM MONEY.