LINCOLN ELECTRIC: Where People Are Never Let Go

LINCOLN ELECTRIC

At first glance, Lincoln Electric, the $1 billion Cleveland, Ohio, maker of arc-welding equipment, seems like every other U.S. corporation trying to weather the current economic downturn--heartless. It is slashing overtime, cutting temps and applying an elaborate rating system to assess employee performance. But no matter how bad things get, or how low they score, workers at Lincoln won't flunk out.

"I never have to wake up in the morning and wonder if I've got a job," says foreman Bob Knapik, 41. For almost a half-century, it's been that way at Lincoln's headquarters--guaranteed lifetime employment for all full-time workers who...

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