Sears Canada execs paid hundreds of millions in dividends before declaring bankruptcy and leaving 16,000 workers' pensions unfunded


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/22/more-for-your-life.html


#2

Our Brothers and Sisters to the North are getting fucked too.

[need more coffee]


#3

Will 16,000 Sears Canada retirees see their pensions? [Francine Kopun/The Star]

Late-stage capitalism says “No.”


#4

What’s a pension?


#5


#6

From the linked article (because Cory likes to leave stuff out):

FSCO, the agency responsible for regulating pensions in Ontario, and one of the agencies pensioners appealed to for help over the years, said Sears Canada was acting lawfully.

“FSCO’s review of the file showed that Sears Canada was complying with the pension plan funding requirements under the Pension Benefits Act (PBA) before the company entered CCAA protection,” according to a statement from Malon Edwards, a spokesperson for the agency that oversees pension funds in Ontario.

“It should be noted that FSCO does not have the authority to require Sears to add more money to the pension fund than required under the PBA.”


#7

I’ve never understood the US system. Either you have a socialized system where you pay taxes to the government so they guarantee your pension, or you have a private system where you choose for yourself where you want to save, preferably with government incentives to make sure you do save for retirement and regulation to make sure the banks handle the money responsibly.

This system where your employer handle retirement funds seems just weird. Was it deliberately designed to screw workers or is it just a predicable side effect?


#8

Somewhere in between. 401Ks weren’t designed to screw workers so much as they were designed to funnel money upward to incumbent corporations and weathy people in a way defined pensions couldn’t, which makes the outcome something more than a side effect.


#9

Well, the US has both systems. We have SS, which is the first one you mentioned. Many of us also have access to either a defined-benefit pension plan (though this is becoming rarer by the day) or a 401k. The employer usually does not handle management of the funds. In the case of a 401k, it forwards employee funds (and its own contributions, if any) to the plan management company. In the case of a defined-benefit pension plan, the employer generally funds the plan, which again is managed by a (sometimes only nominally) independent plan manager.


#10

Im officially starting a coverband called “Tears for Sears”


#11

Sears in Canada was a respected and profitable Canadian retailer—I don’t think that’s too hyperbolic—gutted by Sears America. It had a largely independent catalogue with it’s own buyers and a long deep history of mail-order catalogue sales.

Sears America sold the profitable parts, siphoned remaining profits, standardized the catalogue and stifled the online storefront—which, while not awesome, was deep and accessible and with a decent investment could have been a viable Canadian option to other choices like Amazon or ebay …this is so bizarre. Of any brick and mortar retailer, Sears Canada was in a good position for online sales, backed by a robust distribution infrastructure with call centres, automated storage warehouses, national shipping and local delivery.

Sacrificed by an American head office by the standard issue archetypal executive sociopaths, citing faceless shareholders, and without regard to the economic communities impacted.

The Slow A.I.s (corporations) are unhindered by long-outdated legislation. It’s time legislators stopped fiddling and take steps accounting for the rise of the Algorithm. Redefine corporations as integral to people and economic health, with executive employees held responsible for misdirection with penalties reflecting their economic impact.

Added jan 23: Thom Hartmann on the history of U.S. corporate personhood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDtSSFEZY38


#12

Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right. After all, corporate financial laws (Here in the US) are generally created by corporate lobbyists and passed by politicians

While FSCO doesn’t have the authority to require Sears to add more money to the pension it could certainly have made it public. The whole point of auditors is (supposed to be) to catch financial shenanigans.


#13

regulators are the new enablers, in all things…bah…!!


#14

So because the Gov’t allows the looting it’s cool?


#15

The pensioners knew that there was a problem and they were trying to get someone, anyone to pay attention and fix it. The company was pillaged to pay shareholders and executives.


#16

South and west and east as well. Class struggle is global.


#17

We have an opportunity to create much needed change. Please consider signing this important petition to promote someone new to lead Sears!

Thank You

Simon Edwards


#18

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