Paula’s Labor Union Proposal
Acme Manufacturing recently started a plant that makes a variety of very high-tech computer chips that could make a significant improvement in the productivity and profitability of thousands of companies around the world. Most of the employees who were hired in this particular Acme division were junior, mid-level, and senior-level IT subject matter experts and managers. The junior and mid-level IT employees were hourly workers, and senior-level experts and managers were salaried workers. The company provided many opportunities for advancement from hourly to non-hourly status.
A few months after the plant was up and running, Lawrence, a labor union representative, approached the hourly workers in this plant and rallied them to a meeting during which he discussed the documented benefits to them of belonging to a union. These benefits included (1) higher wages, (2) greater employee benefits, (3) and increasing level of benefits due to collective bargaining procedures, and (4) typically, higher pay for managers in union firms than their nonunion counterparts.
Acme already had procured multiple contracts for the products by the time the union meeting was held. The computer chips would be cutting-edge, state-of-the-art products that would be manufactured to exact standards in the shortest time possible. Extremely high quality as well as quantity was absolutely necessary. Because of this, the employees who were hired were thought to be the “best of the best” and would be rewarded in a uniquely attractive manner, including compensation, benefits, top working conditions and chances for growth and development. Some jobs were salaried positions, some were contract, some were full-time, and others were temporary. Some employees worked alone and others worked in groups. However, regardless of their work situation, there was flexibility in the way they were individually rewarded, as well as group rewards. In addition, all employees received compensation and benefits that were above standard.
In order to determine whether or not the hourly employees were interested in becoming part of a labor union, the HRM put Paula, a senior hourly-worker, in charge of performing some research regarding manufacturing plants that had elected to be affiliated with a union, those that had not, and the reasons for their decisions. Then, after meeting with the other hourly workers and resolving the issue, Paula was to report their decision on unionizing to the management team. Paula kept in mind that Acme wanted to continue to hire stellar quality employees and that the advantages that the union representative reported were appealing.
If you were an hourly worker for Acme, would you support unionizing the workers? Develop an outline to present your recommendation to unionize or remain non-unionized to Acme’s management committee. Your plan should provide a brief history of the labor union movement, leading up to why you would recommend or not recommend that Acme employees be part of a labor union. Consider your recommendation in light of federal Acts and other changes that have influenced this decision and, most importantly, how this decision would affect present and future employees of this Acme division.
Why Not Me?
John was the hiring manager at Better Buttons. He had a need for a new Account Executive to manage a new product launch, one that would primarily focus on two overseas markets. John had several applicants, with the most experienced being Melissa Martin. Melissa had been with the company for seven years and knew the business like the back of her hand. She had a reputation for exceeding expectations on every assignment given her, including assisting with the market analysis component of the plan for this specific launch. The problem John faced was that this new position required extensive interaction with their overseas divisions and sales contact with clients in countries where women are not taken seriously in business. John feared that Melissa would not be effective in establishing and growing the business in these markets.
The day for decision making came, and John announced that he had selected Robert Turner to be the new Account Executive. Robert had three years experience in sales and consistently met quota, although he rarely brought in new opportunities and relied on growing the domestic base exclusively. Getting Robert up-to-speed on the new product offering would take twice as long as it would have with Melissa, and Robert needed sensitivity training to better understand the cultures within which he would now operate. John believed, though, that a man was the only option for the job and Robert could be groomed to meet the challenge. Needless to say, Melissa was not happy with John’s choice and asked that the decision be reviewed. She presented several issues for consideration to John’s supervisor.
The supervisor has hired you as a consultant to do an independent review of the circumstances and prepare a business memo that addresses the issues that Melissa raised. You should begin by discussing the two primary, competing positions in U.S. society related to discrimination, as brought forth by Clarence Pendleton, Chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1985; three (3) disputes related to preferential treatment; and explain Utilitarianism and Kantian theory, indicating how each might be applied to this case. Finally, provide and justify your opinion on how the company should proceed regarding this matter.