Volume 36, Number 4, April 2001


a message from the publisher

Best Case Scenario

Best is a very subjective word. You can never really be sure that something is the “best,” yet we love using the accolade. At weddings, a seat of honor goes to the “best man.” Athletes keep track of their “personal best,” even in team sports. But what does “best” really mean? Take the recent Oscar® that Julia Roberts received as “best actress” in a leading role. To be objective, each actress would have to have performed the same part in the same movie and been scored by the same people on a quantifiable scale. Think she would have been as good as Kate Hudson if Julia had played Penny Lane in Almost Famous? No more than Joan Allen could have played a credible Erin Brockovich. (I was routing for Ellen Burstyn, by the way—even though I didn’t even see the movie for which she was nominated, I’ve just loved her since I saw Same Time, Next Year when I was 12. See what I mean? A totally subjective decision on my part.)

When USGlass produced the feature entitled “The Best Companies to Work For” last August, we never dreamed it would generate the interest that it did. We heard from many readers about the list and how it would be developed. Our editorial staff had many thoughtful discussions about what makes a company the best. Is it a list of benefits and perks that can be rated on an objective scale? And if so, against what scale? Is it worker loyalty and longevity? Or is it that intangible quality that some companies have but can’t define?

In the end, we decided it was a combination of all of the above. So this year, we are expanding our efforts in that direction. Since the feature is titled “The Best Companies to Work for in the Glass and Metal Industry,” we are asking you to participate in the survey about benefits wrapped around the cover of this issue. In this way, we will be able to come up with a picture of the types of benefits the average industry company provides and the relative importance of each benefit to employees. “We have a tremendous pension plan,” one reader told me last year. “Only problem is, you have to work here five years to be included, and most people only last five months ...” “We are pretty small and don’t have many big-company benefits,” said another, “but I get a lot of leeway to make and learn from my mistakes, and to fix problems for customers. I came from a big company where I never had that.”

Once we have compiled this data, we will attempt to rate each nominated company against these industry norms. Then we will conduct in-depth interviews with employees to attempt to assess some of the more subjective qualities that can’t be measured. The results will appear in the August issue of USGlass.
I am asking your help in defining “best.” Please complete the survey wrapped around the cover of this magazine and return it to us via mail or by faxing it to 540/720-5687. You can also complete the form online by going to our www.usglassmag.com. All responses will be kept completely confidential. If you wish to nominate your company as one of the “best,” just check off the box on the form as well. If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me at deb@glass.com, or our editor, Tara Taffera, at ttaffera@glass.com

With your help, we will be able to provide a definitive look at the employment practices of the glass and metal industry, and honor those companies that deserve recognition for those practices.

And isn’t that the best we can hope for?


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