Workers fight for benefits lost in bankruptcy cases
With new allegations of corporate mismanagement and accounting and securities fraud sending ever more companies into bankruptcy proceedings and eating up employees? pensions, benefits and severance packages, workers are increasingly choosing to fight back instead of accepting the pittances they are often left with. Starting with Enron and picking up momentum with the collapse of WorldCom and Global Crossing, a grassroots activism has taken shape among laid off workers who are realizing that as a group they can exert considerable political and legal pressure (see WIT?s for June 12, and July 12, 2002). With assistance from the American labor movement, ex-employees have pressured politicians into redirecting donations from companies involved in corporate scandals into relief funds for laid-off employees, achieved tax exempt status for relief funds to encourage donations, and have gone toe-to-toe with corporate and financial groups in their former-employers? bankruptcy proceedings to recover lost severance pay, pensions and benefits.