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…and a Happy New Year

The measure of a great company will be the way it builds great communities—not how much it saved by screwing its pensioners.

~ Joe Trippi
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

In early December each year, a tidal wave of holiday cards began flooding Easton headquarters. The month after the merger was no different. Fast forward ahead one year, however, and the flood would be barely a trickle, demonstrating just how fickle business relationships really are when a corporate headquarters is transformed into a minor regional office.

For Kate Cooper in human resources, most of the cards came from vendors, consultants, industry peers, law firms, and accounting firms. Then there were always a handful of cards from the company’s retirees. You could easily pick them out from the rest. These cards looked nothing like the exquisite art-house, silver-edged, glossy photo greeting cards sent from corporations.
By comparison the retiree cards were usually small and the paper cheap; but you could count on the enclosed handwritten notes to be sincerely rich in their sentiments and good wishes. They were from real people, not from corporations. Among the holiday greetings from retirees that December—less than a month after the Pratt-Miles purchase of The Easton Company—was a dime store card printed in China with the following note written in shaky cursive blue ink:

The best Christmas gift I am given each year is my Company medical insurance. If there is ever anything I can do for the great people at The Easton Company—please let me know.

Kate fought back tears as she read those words, written by an 84-year-old former payroll clerk, knowing this would likely be the last year retirees would be receiving this “gift.”