Monday, June 14, 2010

Home, Sweet Home -- Thanks to the Boss

They used to call it corporate welfarism or welfare capitalism, back in the day when company unions were also called "employee representation plans." Now, no one bothers with company unions anymore. You want representation? Call your congressman.

But some companies are still looking to extend a helping hand to workers. Jim Warren, the former managing editor of The Chicago Tribune and now, occasionally at least, author of a column for Bloomberg Business Week, has described how an increasing number of employers are assisting workers with home purchases. Among Warren's examples: CVS Caremark, Loyola University, and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, all of which have extended home loans to employees and offered credit counseling, too. "This keeps people employed and helps in [workforce] retention," CVS program administrator Stephen Wing told Warren.

Doesn't that sound a lot like the philosophy that led capitalists from Andrew Carnegie to candyman Milton Hershey and textile maker Charles Cannon to build their company towns? I'm not putting it down: It makes good business sense and, especially in these difficult times, is every bit as important as a solid, employer-paid health-care plan.

To read Warren's article, go to

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