Stockholder vs employee; local companies battle corporate dilemma

By Jena Johnson - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

LUFKIN, TX (KLTV) - With tight economic conditions, companies and employees are learning the costs and benefits of sacrifice. But for public companies like Lufkin Industries, accountability to stockholders is a major factor in deciding if employee jobs will be that sacrifices.

Both public and private companies are feeling the pressures of the economy.

"We have a lot of financial closures that we make - a lot more operations disclosure, and as a result of that, there's a burden to support that," explained Paul Perez, Vice President of Lufkin Industries.

Perez says Lufkin Industries has shareholders scattered all over the world, and bottom line, shareholders invest to earn a profit.

"We love it when business is real strong and we report and make shareholders happy," said Perez.

On poor economic conditions, Perez says hanging on to shareholders is important. He says the company has to control their expenses and sometimes it's at the employee's expense.

"Sometimes they're required," said Perez. "We have in the past. We hope we're reaching a basis of operations where our head count reflects the work level."

Perez says they're not working on any layoffs at this time. Atkinson Candy Company is a privately owned corporation. Eric Atkinson says he's considered becoming publicly traded.

"Basically it's like taking on a partner, and quite frankly, a lot of times the partner ends up telling you how to run your operation, and it may not be the best thing for the employees," said Atkinson.

He believes private companies give employees job security.

"We understand that they have lives, to the extent that we can accommodate that, and that's the difference between a private corporation and public corporation because they really don't have that lead way," explained Atkinson.

He says the pay and benefits might be greater in a public company, but he worries about that lasting.

"At the end of the day, we have employees who've left Atkinson Candy Company to go to work at a public corporation only to come back when they got laid off," said Atkinson.

Lufkin Industries has had five rounds of layoffs this year. Again, Perez says no layoffs are in the works right now.

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