It might just be rumor, but rumor has it that Agilent has retreated on a long-term employee benefit, that of Retiree Survivor Benefits. Seems the current economic climate is tough enough (and there is no question that it is hard out there) that the Agilent executive team decided to shut down a number of long-cherished items.
Among them -- this one. Since many of the long-term Agilent employees were male, and in "our age bracket" women outlive their spouses by several years, this well could mean a decade's guaranteed income, long counted on as a funded legacy by that most paternalistic of companies, "the old HP", will not happen after all. A cruel decision, one has to think. Unless you are more concerned about shareholders than ex-employees -- Wall Street would doubtless applaud, just as they thrill and rally stock prices when more layoffs and outsourcing is announced.
Hewlett and Packard have had multiple occasions to turn over in those cold graves -- the selloff of Little Basin and the merger/acquisition mania pale alongside pretexting, forfeiture of long-promised benefits, and rules banning executive participation on civic boards. Ethics and a huge belief in the dignity and value and worth of all employees were cardinal elements, weren't they?