Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
The pros and cons of early retirement for blue-collar workers are evenly probed in this documentary by Kenneth Fink. Under scrutiny is the Budd Company in Philadelphia, with a union contract that mandates retirement after 30 years on the job, period. When a 54-year-old worker spends his last day on the job, his colleagues come by to wish him farewell - perhaps a somewhat inadequate expression of their sadness at his leaving, but then, the company itself does not offer any formal recognition for his years of service. What lies ahead? Fink interviews some retirees in Florida who are at a loss with the extra time on their hands, a few seem to have found self-satisfying hobbies to occupy their time. Since workers are valued by the job they do, the jobless are hard-put not to be depressed - especially when removed from the security of long-standing work relationships, their old homes, and their old environment. Fink also interviews an engaging, 68-year-old widow of great warmth who tells the story of how she had resigned herself to living out her last years alone - until she met her new husband and everything changed. Missing in the final analysis are questions about the system itself, and whether or not there are any other options in this case for those who do not want to retire in their mid-50's or earlier.