When Sears announced it was going to seek court protection because of deep financial troubles, many Canadians were disappointed about the announcement. Sears has been around since the 1950’s and has become a part of Canadian history.
But it’s what happened to many Sears employees, that really grabbed the headlines this summer.
The restructuring process put in place by Sears includes closing 59 stores across Canada and the laying off of nearly 3,000 staff members. To make matters worse, staff members will not receive any severance.
In addition, Sears had asked the court for permission to ‘immediately halt payments for pension, health and dental benefits for former employees, retirees and surviving spouses due to a severe cash crunch.’ On July 13 it was decided that they would continue payments to retirees until Sept. 30.
Since the initial announcement, there have been several stories of employees who worked at the store for decades being treated ‘like ants at the bottom.’
Many don’t know how they will pay their mortgage, rent or even buy groceries for their family.
But senior management is going to be just fine through the restructuring.
Sears announced they will pay up to $7.6 million in retention bonuses to executives and senior managers who work at the company’s head office in Toronto. That means that they will earn an additional 25 to 100 percent on top of their base salary.
Although Sears pointed out that this is very common in restructuring processes, that doesn’t mean a lot to long time employees with no protection.
This type of treatment of workers should not be allowed in Canada. You should be rewarded for dedication and years of service to a company, not punished and left in financial turmoil.
Unions have the backs of their employees and level the playing field. A collective agreement ensures that your seniority and wages are protected. Teamsters 362 also offers an excellent pension plan for its members, ensuring that when they retire they are not struggling.
When you dedicate years of your life to an employer, you should not end your career worrying about your future.