Wednesday, October 02, 2002
Maybe he'll drive by and hand me a dime
In 1914, the workers at the Colorado Fuel & Iron Corporation went on strike. They were evicted from their company-owned houses in Ludlow, Colorado, moved into a tent-city. On Easter 1914, the National Guard and company-hired gunman burned the tents, shot into the city with machine guns, and killed 13, including some of the worker's wives and children.
Colorado Fuel & Iron was owned by John D. Rockefeller. His image, was, to put it mildly, tarnished by the incident. So, what did he do to show is contrition? Instead of (somehow) making it up to his workers (or any other workers), he hired a P.R. man who advised him to give dimes to random poor children. For the next two decades, Rockefeller devotedly gave dimes away.
Yesterday, Global Crossing Chairman Gary Winnick, who made (read: stole) $734 million from the company's stock before the shares became worthless, will donate $25 million into the retirement funds of his thousands of employees, many of whom lost virtually everything. Winnick's crime may not be as reprehensable as Rockefeller's but his penitence is.
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