TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: 50 Year Unisys Employee Retires

Re: 50 Year Unisys Employee Retires

Steven Lichter (
Tue, 28 Jun 2005 10:43:19 GMT

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to Lisa Hancock:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: One important reason companies do not
> keep around 40-50 year employees any longer is because that employee's
> benefits package is usually so extravagant. For example, I recall one
> fellow who had worked for Standard Oil more than twenty years back in
> the 1960's, when I was there. Working there that long, he was
> entitled to five weeks paid vacation every year, and first choice of
> the available times for vacation. He _always_ managed to parlay that
> five week vacation into _six_ weeks by scheduling his vacation times
> around weeks which had holidays in them, which entitled him to an
> extra vacacation day. For example, vacation during the week which
> contained Memorial Day, also the week which contained Independence Day
> and Labor Day got him _three extra days_ right there. So he would then
> take those three extra days vacation and either use them for the
> Monday <-> Wednesday of Thanksgiving Week when the entire office got
> two days (Thursday and Friday) off anyway. Or, depending on how the
> calendar worked out that year, maybe he would take those three days
> during Christmas/New Years week.

> Needless to say, Standard Oil got quite annoyed at having to legally
> pay him for not being there for large gaps of time. Eventually, they
> had a whole bunch of people in that situation and of course, if you
> can find an excuse for letting the person go, then you also have to
> pay them for the _company's share_ of their 401-K plan or whatever,
> _plus_ their severance pay, _plus_ their pension, etc. And there is
> absolutely no reason a good supervisor cannot find an excuse -- _any_
> lawful excuse will do, to can you if they wish to do so. That is one
> reason most companies do not like to have employees around that long;
> to their way of thinking, the person has gotten just to expensive for
> them.

> And ditto with the telephone company over the years. I recall a
> complaint I heard from a couple of very old, long term 'inside plant'
> technicians who got laid off by Illinois Bell just a week or two prior
> to some milestone for them (such as maybe reaching the point they were
> entitled to that very coveted fifth week of vacation each year). This
> was right around the time Wabash was cutting over to ESS, in 1974 or
> thereabouts. They both said Bell was extremely secretive about the new
> system. Although they both, by virtue of their longevity, had the run
> of the whole inside plant, the frames, etc, Bell kept the area where
> the computers for ESS were located totally 'off limits' with locked
> doors, to most of the older guys. "The only guys allowed to go in that
> area were the real young smart-alecks who knew something about
> computers. Those of us who knew nothing about computers were _not_
> allowed to go in that area at all." PAT]

I don't know about Standard Oil and Illinois Bell, but I was a long
term employee of GTE and went into the Electronic Projects when they
first started. A lot of senior employees did not want to learn the
new stuff and others were needed to keep the old equipment running,
but in the end the senior people learned the new stuff, transfered or
retired. In the end there were a few who got laid off, GTE did dump
most of the frame people and I could never figure that move out.

As to vacations, I would take the week of Thanksgiving through the end
of the year, and I would get extra days to my vacation, but no more
then if I had just taken them without the vacation time.

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