Valeant Pharmaceuticals buys Bausch & Lomb for $8.7 billion. Hundreds lose their livelihoods in Rochester.

Rochester-based employees will have to relocate to find work as a city that once was based on 3 companies now has none of them.  (Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb).  The new B&L headquarters will be moved from Rochester to somewhere in NJ according to recent news reports.   I just hope and pray for the people that were given pink slips.  I hope that they either have sufficient secondary income (if married) or that they are able to find a job soon elsewhere, and find a place that they enjoy living.

Not that it’s really a great opportunity to be fired if you’ve invested so much time in a company, but I hope that people affected have strong family ties and are able to transition somewhere else.  Maybe they’ve always wanted to live in Texas or Barbados or with their friends in Boise, but never had a reason to leave.  That’s really a best case scenario for many people, but I hope people are able to quickly pick up the pieces and sell their homes if necessary.

And, now I am reminded of Up in the Air and The Company Men.  Those movies exist for a reason as I can only assume the people that wrote them believe that capitalism, when misused, to be wrong.  (Those are both very well done movies if you haven’t seen them before).  I am so glad I didn’t marry someone who believes people are expendable and to be used for personal gain (like Coach in The Company Men; that was his stand-out role, so that’s how I recognize the actor who did a phenomenal job, by the way). Not that I would ever marry such a person, but my husband is a good man.

A good, intelligent man concerned with social justice, humanity, and doing the right thing.  The kind of man that doesn’t overlook the plight of the homeless.  The kind that buys a homeless man food when the homeless man asks for money to ensure the homeless person doesn’t spend the money on addiction, and then vents to me later that the man grimaced when he handed him a subway club.

I forget now if the person grimaced or if he wasn’t there when E got back.  Actually, I think both happened on separate occasions.  And, I told him that he could be certain that in those cases, the man probably just wanted the money for alcohol, which is tragic nonetheless.  Nevertheless, what makes one man concerned with humanity and another man self-absorbed?  Most often, it’s probably how the person was raised, but that’s not always the case.  But, isn’t it laughable when you see a 10 year old be so rude and cut in line, but then see the 40 year old parent doing the same thing a few minutes later?

Anyway, I wish there was something that could be done to protect employees.  Something like what OSHA did for our safety.  Some law?  Can laws really be put into place to make a person do the right thing?  Can such a law be written?  Some law that prevents retirement from being taken away when a company intentionally singles out somebody close to the age of retirement?  A law that prevents mass layoffs unless absolutely necessary for the company to stay afloat?  That would be tough, to be sure.  How do you write a law for such things that aren’t as concrete as OSHA?

Something needs to be done, though.  I guess that’s the downside of capitalism, but it doesn’t need to be.  Since I’m not a lawyer or in politics, I hope that those that are in these professions and have the ability to are working on a solution.  One man (or woman; remember, I think that the politically correct man/woman talk is just redundant) should not have to work 70 hour weeks doing 2 jobs while the other man who was let go applies for job after job on**.

**The last example was hypothetical, and not based on any actual person or affiliated with any particular company.**

Though haven’t we all heard about people who have had something similar happen to them in recent years?  It’s entirely different when a person knowingly chooses to work endless hours when he starts a job (say, a lawyer at a large firm takes the position knowing he will be working 70 hour weeks).  It’s another thing entirely when a company makes that choice for a person.


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