pageok
Surviving the Bottom Line with Hedrick Smith Title Graphic Linking the Web Site Home Page Image from BEATING THE BOTTOM LINE

Beating the Bottom Line

Graphic Linking to RUNNING WITH THE BULLS Show Page

Running with the Bulls

Graphic Linking to LIVING ON THE FAULT-LINE Show Page

Living on the Fault-Line

Graphic Linking to LEARNING TO SURVIVE Show Page

Learning to Survive

Graphic Linking to BEATING THE BOTTOM LINE Show Page

Beating the Bottom Line

Graphic Linking to SURVIVING THE BOTTOM LINE with Hedrick Smith Web Site Home Page

[Home]

Graphic of Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Logo Linking to Foundation Web Site
Link to Episode 4 Transcript
Link to Woerth Interview Transcript
Link to Dasburg Interview Transcript
Link to Episode Four Credits

Episode Four Transcript

Act I: Distant Owners, Local Jobs
After a distant corporate owner gave the order to shut down Maine’s Hathaway Shirt Company, local investors teamed with government and labor to keep the plant open, saving 500 jobs. Now they’re proving the 160 year-old company is still competitive.

Act II: Loyalty in the Global Age
A commitment to keeping jobs in the United States, limited use of temps, and no layoffs. It sounds like a thing of the past, but Hedrick Smith visits one company that’s proving old-fashioned loyalty still works in the 90s.

Act III: Investing in Jobs
What do Naya bottled water, a Canadian paper mill, and Newport News Shipbuilding all have in common? Ask their union workers -- whose pension funds are keeping factory doors open and helping fund expansion.

Act IV: Partners in Success
Northwest Airlines is enjoying record profits...but it hasn’t always been that way. Only a few years ago, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy before being rescued by its workers.

Act V: Narrowing the Gap
Hedrick Smith explores the Dutch economy, finding that it is possible to spread the gains more widely and still maintain low unemployment and high productivity.

Line

Act I: Distant Owners, Local Jobs

STANDUP: IF COLLABORATION AND CARING ARE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE EDUCATION, THAT SAME SENSE OF PARTNERSHIP AND CONCERN FOR PEOPLE IS PROVING ITS SUCCESS IN BUSINESS, TOO.

IN THE NEXT HOUR, YOU’LL SEE COMPANIES, COMMUNITIES, AND AN ENTIRE COUNTRY THAT ARE BEATING THE BOTTOM LINE BY BUCKING CONVENTIONAL WISDOM. THEY HAVE STAYED COMPETITIVE AND PROFITABLE, BUT THEY TAKE THE MEAN-EDGE OFF THE NEW ECONOMY, BY PROTECTING JOBS AND SHARING THE FRUITS OF GROWTH.

TAKE HATHAWAY SHIRT COMPANY. EVERYBODY REMEMBERS THE MAN WITH THE EY PATCH IN THE HALTHAWAY SHIRT. FOR 160 YEARS, THOSE SHIRTS WERE MADE HERE IN WATERVILLE, MAINE.

TWENTY MONTHS AGO, HATHAWAY WAS NEARLY SNUFFED OUT WHEN A DISTANT CORPORATE OWNER DECIDED THE BUSINESS WAS A BUST. BUT FOLKS IN MAIN REALLIED TO KEEP HATHAWAY LIVE...AND ITS COMEBACK HAS SAVED 500 JOBS AND CARRIES A WIDER MESSAGE.

Neena: When I graduated from high school, I knew I could get a job at Hathaway. It's always been here and you always knew that you could get a job there. Some people they have whatever problems arise. Women go through divorces. There was always an opening at Hathaway.

NARRATION: IN 1986, A MILLIONAIRE INDUSTRIALIST, LINDA WACHNER, BOUGHT HATHAWAY’S PARENT COMPANY AND... LIKE MANY TAKEOVER ARTISTS, WACHNER TRIED TO BOOST PROFITS BY CUTTING COSTS...AND THAT CUT QUALITY.

Debbie: When they told us, you know, to do it different, everybody was kind of surprised. Because we knew what quality was and it was cutting down the quality of our Hathaway shirts.

Neena: When you’re told, ‘Well so what if that stitch isn’t ‘quite right, let it go. Deep in our hearts we knew it wasn't right. We knew it wasn’t a Hathaway quality shirt. We didn’t want it to go, but we were told to let it go.”

NARRATION: IN EARLY 1995, LINDA WACHNER STEPPED UP THE PRESSURE. SHE WARNED THAT SHE WOULD SHUT DOWN THE FACTORY UNLESS THE WORK PACE WAS DRAMATICALLY SPEEDED UP. THE WORKERS AGREED TO TRY.

Cavanaugh: The contract that was signed in early 1995 committed the union to working with the company in a joint effort to improve the productivity. Our view is, we held up our end of the bargain. cut last sentence

Judy: Within a year.... we did it - 3200 dozen for the week at the cost of $55 per dozen... And then, when we thought we were doing great and ...

Smith: And kaboom.

Judy: May 6.

NARRATION: LINDA WACHNER ORDERED THE PLANT SHUT DOWN.

Joanne: there's a lot of women in that plant that lived and take care of themselves, they're single people and they take care of their children. And all of a sudden they`re told, `You have no more job, and you think what`s going to happen to my family? Girls were crying. They were walking around. And it was horrible. It was horrible.

Cavanaugh: It was shocking to, to me. It was certainly shocking to the workers because we'd been working so, so well together and in fact improving the productivity of this plant to record levels.

Neena: So it was obvious to us and a lot of others. She didn't care about us.

Joanne: She was like a blood sucker that gets on your skin and sucks the blood right out of you until there's nothing left.

Cavanaugh: There were a lot of people in this community who felt like, there’s something fundamentally wrong if an out-of-state corporation has the power to shut down our community.

Allen: ..it seemed like the final blow for a city that really couldn't take it.

Waterville had already been losing population for a number of years. The economy was in trouble. People were discouraged

NARRATION: UNITE, THE HATHAWAY WORKERS UNION, ORGANIZED A PROTEST.

Joanne: We were going to fight as hard as we could to make, keep it open. Because it was here for 160 years and there's a lot of peoples' jobs at stake.

NARRATION: GOVERNOR ANGUS KING PUT PRESSURE ON LINDA WACHNER TO KEEP THE PLANT OPERATING, WHILE MAINE LOOKED FOR A BUYER.

Gov King: ... because it's a heck of lot easier to sell a plant when its going and producing, than when the doors are closed

NARRATION: WHEN HATHAWAY WORKERS HEARD HILLARY CLINTON WOULD BE IN PORTLAND, MAINE TO ADDRESS THE STATE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, THEY WENT TO SEE HER.

Neena: Someone donated a bus for us. There was a group that went down on the bus. We ended up meeting with Hillary and we gave her our message.

Hillary Clinton: As I told the Hathaway workers, I will report back to the President and I can assure them and I can assure you, that the President - working with the state, and the city and the union - will do all he can to help....

Cavanaugh: And that gave us a huge boost, just in terms of visibility and credibility, for what we were trying to do.

NARRATION: WITH NATIONAL PUBLICITY MOUNTING, LINDA WACHNER AGREED TO KEEP THE PLANT OPEN UNTIL A GROUP OF INVESTORS WAS ORGANIZED BY FORMER GOVERNOR JOCK MCKERNAN, WHO WANTED TO BUY THE PLANT.

McKernan: I've never seen that kind of outpouring of support we got from the governor, from the legislature, from the mayor of Waterville, from the council, and even from people all over the state.

NARRATION: WORKING TOGETHER, THE STATE, FEDERAL AND CITY GOVERNMENTS PUT UP $1.6 MILLION TO UPGFADE EQUIPMENT AND TO BUY THE FACTORY AND LEASE IT TO THE INVESTOR GROUP. ONCE THE BUYOUT FROM LINDA WACHNER WAS COMPLETE, THE WORKERS JOINED FORCES WITH THE NEW TEAM.

CAVANAUGH: And from that point on, we, we indicated our willingness to work with them...//cut to//04:29:17//. They were going to be the investors. We knew they needed us as an asset.

LANDRY: I don’t think it would have been successful, if he didn’t have a skilled union in UNITE who was also working very hard to keep everybody at the table...and was willing to negotiate and didn’t take an overly hard line.

Allen: ... basically you had the kind of public-private partnership that lifted peoples' spirits and you see it throughout the state now and you see it in the workers at, at the Hathaway mill.

NARRATION: MCKERNAN ASKED DON SAPPINGTON, FORMER CEO OF MAINE’S BASS SHOE COMPANY, TO RUN HATHAWAY. SAPPINGTON WAS SKEPTICAL. BUT AFTER VISITING THE PLANT, HE AGREED. I ASKED SAPPINGTON IF THE WORKERS CHANGED HIS MIND.

Sappington: They stole my heart. It, it's a unique company. It's almost like a family up here. The people are so close, and the closer I got to them, the more I got to know them, I thought, you know, am I good enough to make this work for them? Because that was my biggest concern. I didn't want to get involved if I didn't think I could make it work. And the more I looked at it, the more I analyzed it, I said, `There's a real good shot here.' And I've become more and more positive every month.

Neena: It was catchy, everybody caught hold of it I mean here is this man coming by with a smile on his face and, "Wow that looks pretty easy," and he sits down and actually tries the job. Which was amazing. It was foreign to the people out there.

Sappington: We missed you....

Neena: So it was a definitely a breath of fresh air.

NARRATION: SAPPINGTON SAW THE EXTREME COST-CUTTING OF LINDA WACHNER’S WARNACO AS A MISTAKEN STRATEGY.

Sappington: You see it happen in a lot of businesses. They start getting caught up in cost pressures. So instead of having seven colors in my palette, I only have six this season, then I have five, then I have four. And then color costs more than solid. Stripes cost more than solid. Color costs more than white. So as you chase that ever loving penny to make it cheaper and cheaper and cheaper, you finally wind up with a white shirt that doesn't fit anybody.

NARRATION: INSTEAD, WITH HIS U.S. WORKERS EARNING MUCH MORE THAN THIRD WORLD RIVALS, SAPPINGTON FELT HATHAWAY HAD TO GO FOR THE HIGH END OF THE MARKET. HE MADE SHIRTS TWO INCHES WIDER, REDESIGNED THE POCKETS, IMPROVED CLOTH QUALITY.

Sappington: One real fun thing. We brought back the Hathaway "H", on the tail of the shirt, so every shirt that a consumer buys will have this embroidered with the "H" on the bottom of the shirt.

Smith: What happened to the "H".

Sappington: It was taken off the shirt because of the cost.

Smith: By Warnaco?

Sappington: Yes.

Smith: And how much does it cost to put an H on?

Sappington: Two cents.

Smith: Two cents?

Sappington: Two cents.

Smith: So they were cutting two cents and giving away a part of the name?

Sappington: Yes.

Smith: Smart business?

Sappington: I don't think so.

Smith: So maybe there was a way they could have saved it, if they'd turned it around and done it differently.

Sappington: I hope to prove them wrong.

NARRATION: REBUILDING IS TOUGH, BUT THE NEW HATHAWAY HAS WON BACK SOME OLD CUSTOMERS AND ADDED PRESTIGE OUTLETS LIKE NORDSTROMS - A FAR CRY FROM LINDA WACHNER’S GIVING UP ON HATHAWAY SHIRTS AND ITS WORKERS.

Landry: The Hathaway example, Number 1 shows us there is something we can do about it. Number 2, we should do something about it. And Number 3, These investors believe they can make money here..

Smith: Is there something wrong in the corporate boardrooms of America? What's the message for example in these stories to Wall Street?

Allen: Don't just look at the numbers. That's the message. If you're some distance away and all you're doing is looking at numbers, you will miss the reality and part of the reality is the kind of people who are there, who are working, who are producing the goods that, you know, you're trying to sell around the world. And the people who have been successful are betting on the work force..

Yvette: It's taking time, but it's coming back slowly, But it's, it's coming. And it's what we want.

Smith: What's the feeling?

Yvette: Good, because we know that quality is coming back into our line of work and that's what we on is quality and that's what we like. Number one shirt.

Joanne: We make the best shirts in the world.

Act II: Loyalty in the Global Age

STANDUP: IT’S NOT JUST ANGRY WORKERFS AND DISRUPTED COMMUNITIES THAT PROTEST AGAINST THE CURRENT CORPORATE CREED OF OUTSOURCING, DOWNSIZING AND MOVING PRODUCTION TO MALAYSIA OR MEDICO.

THERE’S A MINORITY OF CORPORATE LEADERS WHO FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT THE OLD-FASHIONED VIRTUES OF CORPORATE LOYALTY, JOB SECURITY AND ‘MADE IN AMERICA’ ARE STILL GOOD BUSINESS.

ONE OF THOSE MAVERICKS IS SYDNEY HARMAN, CHAIRMAN OF HARMAN INTERNATIONAL... MAKER OF HIGH TECH, HIGH QUALITY AUDIO SYSTEMS. HARMAN PROMOTES LONG-TERM CONNECTIONS WITH HIS EMPLOYEES. HE RAILS AGAINST TEMPS AND LAYOFFS, AND HE JUST BUILT HIS LATEST PLANT NOT FIVE MILES AWAY IN MEXICO, BUT HERE, ON THIS SIDE OF THE BORDER, IN EL PASO, TEXAS.

Harman: We are truly persuaded that when we get done making product here, it will cost us no more and we will get a significantly better product.

Smith: What your saying then is that the quality of people here and their commitment to your company is going to generate value and productivity far beyond what you could save by going to Mexico

Harman: That's my belief

Smith: Why?

Harman: We attract people who over the long run become persuaded this company is their company, they're going to give it their all. When people determine to give it their all, the levels of productivity that you can see, will blow your mind.

NARRATION: SIDNEY HARMAN’S OLD-FASHIONED LOYALTY TO HIS WORKERS MAY BE OUT OF STEP WITH TODAY'S LEAN AND MEAN CEO'S. BUT HIS COMPANY'S TRACK RECORD SPEAKERS FOR ITSELF. THE COMPANY'S JBL AND INFINITY AUDIO SYSTEMS ARE WORLD-CLASS. AND HARMAN INTERNATIONAL PROSPERS WITH ONE-POINT-FOUR BILLION DOLLARS IN ANNUAL SALES. ... TO KEEP WORKERS A TOP PRIORITY OF HIS MANAGERS, HARMAN INSISTS THAT ALL EXECUTIVES SPEND TIME WORKING ON THE PRODUCTION LINE EVERY MONTH. THAT INCLUDES TOP CORPORATE EXECUTIVES LIKE TOM DUFF, VICE PRESIDENT FOR TECHNICAL OPERATIONS.

Smith: You get a fancy salary and here you are doing this kind of stuff. Does that make sense.

Duff: Oh yeah because the, the learning you're getting from this is more than you could ever get from a seminar or out in a, the field of trying to talk to consultants. This gives you immediate feedback right here.

NARRATION: FRANK MEREDITH IS THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER. LIKE DUFF, MEREDITH IS BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS BETWEEN LABOR AND MANAGEMENT...AND GIVING WORKERS A GOOD CHUCKLE TO BOOT.

Vivian: They try awfully hard but sometimes because the product is so small, sometimes they fumble and but they really try. They walk away understanding the job that the people on the line, the line are doing. So they appreciate the product a lot more.

Smith: And how do workers feel about that? Do they think it's a joke or do they think that's important?

Vivian: They think that's very important because they stay with the understanding that now he knows or she knows what I go through in my work day.

Boyd: You're down here, you're seeing it. You say there has to be a better way to do that. These people that are here in this factory, they know all the time what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong. And the challenge is how do you extract that out of them.

NARRATION: ED BOYD MANAGED INDUSTRIAL PLANTS FOR TWELVE YEARS BEFORE HE JOINED HARMAN AS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR MANUFACTURING. SEVERAL DAYS INTO HIS NEW JOB, PRODUCT DEMAND FELL SHARPLY. BOYD REACTED LIKE MOST MODERN MANAGERS.

Boyd: My first week here I put together a plan to reduce the work force by 200 people. And needless to say, I got an education on OLE very quickly.

NARRATION: OLE - OFF...LINE...ENTERPRISES - ANOTHER SIDNEY HARMAN WRINKLE THAT KEEPS REGULAR HARMAN EMPLOYEES ON THE PAYROLL EVEN WHEN THEY'RE NOT STRICTLY NEEDED FOR PRODUCTION JOBS.

Boyd: Sidney talked to me himself.

Smith: What did he say?

Boyd: He said what are you, what are you doing.

Smith: Did he say what are you doing, said what the hell are you doing?

Boyd: I think he said what the hell are you doing. And to be perfectly frank I thought this is the craziest thing I've ever heard of.

NARRATION: IT MAY SOUND CRAZY BUT HARMAN CREATES WORK FOR EMPLOYEES WHEN DEMAND FALLS AND THE PRODUCTION LINES DON'T NEED THEM. OLE USES REGULAR WORKERS FOR JOBS THAT WOULD NORMALLY BE OUTSOURCED. THESE WORKERS ARE REPAIRING FAULTY SPEAKER CONES PROVIDED BY A SUPPLIER. OTHERS DO MAINTENANCE, SECURITY, OR LANDSCAPING.

Smith: And you get paid the same for this as for your regular work?

Aquilar: Yes. Same

Smith: Same pay, same benefits?

Aguilar: Same pay, same benefits, same everything.

NARRATION; JESSIE AQUILAR BEGAN AS A PRODUCTION WORKER. HE NOW SUPERVISES OLE.

Smith: If these people weren't working here, what would they be doing?.

Aguilar: Be home, they'd be gone maybe laid off or something. Usually we try to find work for them so we don't have to send them home.

NARRATION: SYDNEY HARMAN DOESN’T LIKE LAYING OFF REGULAR WORKERS...AND, GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN OF TYPICAL BOTTOM LINE COMPANIES... HE BALKS AT HIRING TEMPS.

Harman: I don't like using temporary workers. I wish we didn't. In the first place it's unfair to the people who have been at this a long time to find their jobs threatened by temps. It's also unfair to the temps.

NARRATION: BUT IT'S NOT ALWAYS EASY TO TRANSLATE THAT PRINCIPLE INTO PRACTICE, AS I FOUND OUT WHEN I TOURED A PRODUCTION LINE WITH BERTHA TORRES, THE LEAD WORKER.

Bertha: This is Kathy. She's been here for a year. She does all our finishing of the diaphragms.

Smith: Is Kathy a regular employee?

Bertha: No, she's a temporary worker.

NARRATION: KATHY TOLD ME SHE HAD BEEN A TEMP FOR 14 MONTHS AND HAD ASKED TO BECOME A REGULAR WORKER..

Smith: Is there a difference? I mean, do you get paid differently or do you get different benefits?

Kathy: We actually, to be honest with you, we don't get benefits ...

NARRATION: WITH BERTHA I MET OTHER TEMPS INCLUDING ONE WHO HAD BEEN WITH HARMAN FOR TWO YEARS - IN CLEAR VIOLATION OF POLICY. I ASKED HARMAN ABOUT IT.

Smith: I mean is something slipping away here?

Harman: It may be, I better...You spoke to someone who's been here 20 months as a temp?

Smith: Two years. One two years, one 14 months.

Harman: I'm frankly terribly disappointed.

NARRATOR: HARMAN WENT IMMEDIATELY TO TALK TO COMPANY PRESIDENT BERNIE GIROD.

Harman: This shocks me. I really want to find what the hell this all about.

NARRATOR: ED BOYD, HIS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CAME NEXT.

Harman: We've talked a number of times about this, and so have we. In my view, and if you guys disagree with me I want to hear it, I'm absolutely convinced hat a temp who has been with us 18 months. Arbitrary number, that guys learned plenty enough about this company and the job. There should be no distinction between that person and a regular person. Two years seems to me damn near servitude. It's just not right.

NARRATION: HARMAN INSISTS THAT NO ONE WORK AS A TEMP MORE THAN SIX MONTHS. SO WHAT HAPPENED AFTER WE LEFT? HARMAN’S MANAGERS FIRED A BUNCH OF TEMPS.

Smith: After we visited your Northridge plant, there were a bunch of your temps who were let go. What happened?

Harman: I think what happened is the word got around and some supervisors got frightened and so they tended to fix it up quickly, sadly at the expense of the temps. When we became aware of that, we revisited all of them, as I recall there were sixteen or seventeen of them. All were called back, all who were qualified were called back, and became regular, full-time, fully benefitted employees.

NARRATION: SO SYDNEY HARMAN DEMONSTRATED HIS PERSONAL COMMITMENT TO A FAIRER WORKPLACE AND DROVE HOME HIS POLICY TO HIS MANAGERS. BUT DOES THE NEXT GENERATION OF COMPANY MANAGERS SHARE HIS CREDO AND WILL THEY CARRY IT OUT?

Smith: Are you persuaded now by his argument, or do you just salute because he's the boss?.

Boyd: Oh, I don't salute. I have been persuaded. I have worked four corporations on three different continents and this is by far the most motivated group of individuals I've ever been associated with.

Smith: What do you think creates that?

Boyd: I think it's this, something that perhaps we've lost. It's a sense of family and allegiance that, that, that you can have a career, you can be an employee, an hourly, a line worker employee and you can have a career with a corporation. You can be here for 20 years, you don't have to worry. You can buy a car, you can buy a house. You, you know that the factory is still going to be there.

Act III: Investing in Jobs

NARRATOR: AUGUST 16, 1996...NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA....AFL-CIO PRESIDENT JOHN SWEENEY COMES TO CALL ON ONE OF AMERICA’S BIGGEST SHIPYARDS...FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL.

AND SURPRISE...JOHN SWEENEY IS NOT HERE TO LEAD A STRIKE. HE’S ON A NEW KIND OF MISSION - TO CELEBRATE A BIG FINANCIAL DEAL...INVESTING UNION PENSION FUNDS IN SHIPBUILDING.

Sweeney: This is what modern US labor relationships should be about: Using American money to build American ships at American companies with American labor....That's the way we need to create more and more jobs through the proper use of our assets.

NARRATOR: FOR THE PAST TWO DECADES, THE SHIPYARD HAD ONLY ONE CUSTOMER - THE U.S. NAVY...WHICH BOUGHT GIANT AIRCRAFT CARRIERS....AND FAST-ATTACK SUBMARINES.

AND THEN THE COLD WAR ENDED, AND THE BOTTOM FELL OUT.

Brazemore: Well, when we lost the contract with the government. I mean, the size downing and all that...We had a lot of people who just didn't have the jobs for them.

Ernie Reid: ... when you're getting laid off, you're laid off. It's bad news, bad news.

NARRATION: BAD UNTIL NEWPORT NEWS PUT TOGETHER A $280 MILLION COMMERCIAL DEAL CALLED THE DOUBLE EAGLE - TO BUILD A LINE OF DOUBLE-HULLED OIL TANKERS. THAT DEAL SAVED 2,000 JOBS AND GAVE A LIFT TO THE WHOLE SHIPYARD.

Brazemore: Double Eagle is really keeping us alive, you know. And we'd be lost without it. All of us would be on the street.

NARRATION: WHAT MAKES DOUBLE EAGLE SO SPECIAL IS THAT WALL STREET FAILED TO COME UP WITH ENOUGH CAPITAL...AND SO THE SHIPYARD HAD TO TURN TO AN UNUSUAL SOURCE FOR MONEY - LABOR UNIONS. NEWPORT NEWS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT TOM SCHEIVELBEIN:

Scheivelbein: They were the final $10 million, which allowed us to go forward with the deal.

Smith: If you hadn't had this deal, where would these ships have been built?

Scheivelbein: Certainly, if we wouldn't have built these ships, they would be built in a Japanese or a Korean yard somewhere.

NARRATION: LABOR’S MONEY CAME FROM THE PENSIONS OF SIX UNIONS, INCLUDING STEELWORKERS LIKE PAT KORLACH.

Smith: Tell me how you feel about having your pension money used for the Double Eagle project.

Korlach: I believe it was a good idea. It held my job now, and it'll pay back in the future.

NARRATION: THE UNION INVESTMENT IN DOUBLE EAGLE WAS PUT TOGETHER BY MIKE STEED, THE FINANCIAL STRATEGIST FOR UNION LABOR LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, OR ULLICO FOR SHORT. ULLICO SET TWO CONDITIONS.

Steed: It had to be built at a union ship yard where it could create union jobs. And secondly the five ships when they go into service will be manned by officers and mates of the Maritime Unions. The investors agreed and we had a deal.

Smith: from your management standpoint, has this been a smart deal?

Scheivelbein: The deal’s been fine. We have not had any-not had any influence, undo influence, from that side of the investment . In the end, I’m working very closely with the steelworkers, with that union. The only way I can be successcful is if I’ve got management and labor working together.

NARRATION: FOR DECADES, LABOR HAS TURNED OVER ITS PENSION FUNDS TO WALL STREET MONEY MANAGERS, WITH LITTLE CONCERN FOR WHETHER ITS INVESTMENTS HAD A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON WORKERS. BUT WITH PROJECTS LIKE DOUBLE EAGLE, LABOR IS SIGNALLING A CHANGE.

STANDUP: WITH MEMBERSHIP DOWN AND JOBS SLICED AWAY BY FOREIGN COMPETITION AND CORPORATE DOWNSIZING, TOP U.S. LABOR LEADERS SEE IMPORTANT NEW LEVERAGE IN THE ENORMOUS POT OF GOLD IN WORKERS’ PENSIONS.

SWEENEY: What we're trying to do now with our capital strategies program is to bring together all of the labor movement and all of workers' assets in a coordinated way..

TRUMKA:This is the first major event in what I expect will be an historic week.

NARRATION: HUNDREDS OF UNION PENSION FUND TRUSTEES MET LAST FALL IN PITTSBURGH TO MAP LABOR'S STRATEGY FOR USING PENSION MONEY TO PROTECT AND CREATE JOBS.

TRUMKA Union-sponsored investment vehicles have grown - grown to become major players in the capital markets.

Stern: In that room is over a trillion dollars worth of resources. People that serve on boards, that control enormous amount of wealth who up to now have been scared to death. They have been told to listen to your investment banker, listen to your lawyer, Don't do anything. You could lose your house. And people are realizing this is crazy.

Trumka: Over the years Wall Street has tried to tell us that it doesn't matter how our investments, how our money, pension money is invested That we ought to be concerned with one and one thing only, and that's the rate of return. Well we know that's not true.

Gerard: I think this is a change, it's a wake up call for folks who manage workers pension money. That's our money and we're tired of getting beat over the head with it.

NARRATION: AS THEY FASHION A NEW STRATEGY, TOP AMERICAN LABOR LEADERS LOOK TO CANADA FOR WHAT AMERICAN UNIONS COULD DO. OVER THE PAST 15 YEARS IN QUEBEC, UNION PENSION FUNDS HAVE HELPED POWER THE REGION'S ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

Godbout: We have invested 1 billion point 1 in the industry, one billion point two. And we have invested more than 600 companies. And we have save over 50,000 jobs.

NARRATION: CLEMENT GODBOUT LOOKS LIKE A BANKER..AND HIS BUILDING LOOKS LIKE AN INVESTMENT BANK. BUT ACTUALLY, GODBOUT IS PRESIDENT OF THE QUEBEC FEDERATION OF LABOR AND CHAIRMAN OF SOLIDARITY FUND, THE INVESTMENT ARM OF THE QUEBEC LABOR MOVEMENT...WITH A MISSION OF REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

Godbout: I think for too long in this country and probably today in many other countries, that they think that the labor is there but unable to think, unable to achieve something, except to bitch about the things and to ask for more, to say it's not correct and to propose irrational things.

NARRATION: FROM A HUMBLE START IN THE EARLY 80S, SOLIDARITY HAS BECOME A POWERHOUSE - THE SECOND LARGEST SOURCE OF VENTURE CAPITAL IN CANADA POOLING MORE THAN $2 BILLION IN WORKERS' PENSIONS. IT HAS BOOMED, NOT BY OPERATING AS A JOB CHARITY BUT BY INSISTING ON GOOD RETURNS.

Godbout: We have to show some return and we have to make sure that we are not investing in only a sick duck here and there. We have to invest also in good places.

NARRATION: GILES AUDETTE, A SENIOR SOLIDARITY OFFICIAL, TOOK ME TO SEE SOME OF SOLIDARITY'S INVESTMENTS. ONE WAS ENTOURAGE, A STARTUP FUNDED BY SOLIDARITY TO TAKE OVER WORK BEING ABANDONED BY CANADA BELL.

Smith: From the standpoint of jobs and profit, how has Entourage done for Solidarity.

Audette: We figure about 600 jobs the first year and we are a little over 1,800 jobs...good jobs. And of course, on the return on our investment yes, we're going to make a profit on the first year.

NARRATION: OUTSIDE MONTREAL, I SAW THE NAYA BOTTLED WATER PLANT EXPANDING...HELPED BY A $10 MILLION INVESTMENT FROM SOLIDARITY. TWO HOURS DRIVE TO THE EAST, AT THREE RIVERS, WE SAW TRIPAP, A PAPER MILL SHUT DOWN BY CANADIAN PACIFIC. SOLIDARITY INVESTED $40 MILLION TO RESURRECT TRIPAP AND REHIRE 450 OF ITS 12-HUNDRED WORKERS. SOLIDARITY LOOKS NOT ONLY FOR GOOD BUSINESS BUT PARTNERS WITH AN OPEN ATTITUDE TOWARD LABOR. ONE TEST IS WHETHER A COMPANY WILL SHARE FINANCIAL INFORMATION WITH ITS WORKERS.

Smith: But it's tough. You're saying to employers you must open your books, open your books, let us see.

Godbout: It’s a matter of survival. I have to open my book as a president of the Federation of Labor.....They have to change. They are asking workers to change, they have to change also, that's all.

NARRATION: I WONDERED HOW CEOS FELT ABOUT SOLIDARITY AS A PARTNER. STEWART LEVITAN, AN AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN RUNS THE NAYA BOTTLED WATER COMPANY FOR PRIVATE INVESTORS. SOLIDARITY IS A MINORITY OWNER.

Levitan: They sit on our board. They have a respected voice and we listen to their input but they very much let us run our own show. Very attractive to us.

NARRATION: THIS IS A FAR CRY FROM SOLIDARITY'S EARLY YEARS WHEN BUSINESS PEOPLE WERE WARY. EACH YEAR, ONLY TWO OR THREE DARED APPLY FOR SOLIDARITY'S MONEY. TODAY SOLIDARITY IS SWAMPED WITH SUITORS.

Audette: Well, receive maybe 350, 400 requests for investment and maybe we do, we close 50,60 deals a year.

NARRATION: AS A RETIREMENT FUND, WITH A TAX BREAK, SOLIDARITY HAS EARNED ITS 330,000 SUBSCRIBERS AN AVERAGE OF TEN PERCENT A YEAR IN RECENT YEARS....ITS SUCCESS HAS SPAWNED SCORES OF LABOR VENTURE CAPITAL FUNDS ALL ACROSS CANADA, DOWN THE LOCAL LEVEL.

Godbout: I suppose that one of the reasons for success is because this society support us. They accept that we can do something.

SWEENEY: The Canadian Solidarity Fund approach has tremendous potential here in the United States and is something that we are looking very closely at ...

GERARD: So, it's not only created jobs. It's also given a return on investment to the investors who are primarily workers, and it's given workers a chance to have a say in their communities.

NARRATION: TODAY, WITH NEWPORT NEWS AND A HANDFUL OF OTHER JOB-CREATING INVESTMENTS, AMERICAN UNIONS ARE AT THE SAME EMBRYONIC STAGE AS SOLIDARITY WAS 15 YEARS AGO...AND THINKING JUST AS BIG.

SWEENEY: I think there's tremendous opportunities in, in almost every industry to invest and to create union jobs ... We see it as, as something that's going to grow very fast. And we're talking about trillions and trillions of dollars.

[Back to top]

Act IV: Partners in Success

Link to Act IV

[Running with the Bulls] [ Living on the Fault-Line]
[
Learning to Survive] [ Beating the Bottom Line]
[
Quiz] [Poll] [ Listserv] [Resources] [Tape Purchase]
[
Home] [Broadcast Schedule] [PBS Online Home]
[
Hedrick Smith Productions]