Eason, the noted book seller in Ireland, is struggling mightily to survive.
If the employees care to save their jobs, they'll want to let their union know that they're willing to give back some of the financial benefits the union won for them back in the glory days.
Standing on principal will only lead to standing in a long line, applying for unemployment benefits.
Siptu represents some Eason's employees, and the trade union has only indicated thus far that they need to speak to Eason's representatives before issuing any statements about Eason's request for restructured wages and redundancies.
No one's heard what Mandate (another trade union representing some Eason employees) plans to do when the Labor Relations Commission asks them if their members are willing to give back so that Eason & Son can carry on.
To give back is to sink into a weaker bargaining position in future talks with other employers. To hold firm is to kill off Eason's and put several union members out of work. It will not be an easy decision for union leaders.
You can count on someone from Siptu or Mandate to loudly bark that Eason's is financially strong and they're only trying to break the union.
It's the sort of talk that is more habit than factual, a throwback to another era that is so long gone that most people can't recall a time when the boss was rich and the workers were slaves.
By organizing, labor was able to control wages while businesses managed to control costs and a balance was reached. Now that balance is thoroughly out of kilter thanks to the current economic climate.
Will the unions take an open-minded approach in talks with Eason & Son? Or will they stand firm, shoulder to shoulder, just like in the good old days?
Eason's employees have to hope that their unions will open their eyes and see that the good old days are gone and hard times call for hard decisions.
Or it will be the end of Eason & Son, bookseller since 1816.