In the work environment, people can be separated into two groups, the employers and the employees. Essentially with the rise in labour unions comes an increase in the employees’ demands for better employee benefits, under threat of industrial action. However, there are cases where employees are already given substantial benefits, considerably above industry average, but refuse to lower such benefits in order for their livelihood to remain afloat. In the case, ‘Labour-Management Negotiation Impasse: Union vs. Burns Meats Ltd.’, it is shown that moral decision between the employer and its employees can go awry in that none of the stakeholders involve benefit. The moral issue of the Union v. Burns Meats Ltd. is the refusal of the Union to cooperate with the company in order for the plant to remain open. If the Union had used the Mary Guy decision-making model in conjunction with the theory of Consequentialism and by extension Utilitarianism, the agreement to cut wages would have been agreed upon. Morally speaking, the union should have accepted the wage cut, the plant would then have remained open, and the workers would still be employed, all else being equal.
The Mary Guy decision-making model, which emphasizes that for a clearly ethical decision to be made, there should be a focus on the analysis of who the stakeholders are in relation to the decision. (Cohen 304) The first step to this model is defining the problem. The problem in the case of Union v. Burns Meats Ltd. is that Burns Meat Ltd. was going out of business because it could not sustain itself in order to remain the competitive meat packing business at the time. The goal which can also be considered as a requirement is to find a solution that benefits all stakeholders. Possible solutions include the one proposed in the case. A huge wage cut to the industry average at the time, lay-offs but keep the current wage, wage cuts and lay-offs, and closing the plant altogether. Now that the possible solutions have been identified an analysis of each solution is made:
A huge wage cut to match the industry average would allow for all the workers to remain workers. However, the workers have been enjoying a generous pay and may not want to part with it, giving it much resistance.
Mass lay-offs could potentially allow for the maintaining of the current wages but for fewer workers. When dealing with lay-offs opens up a whole new slew of problems including, how to select the people who get laid off, and those who get laid off lose their livelihood.
A combination of lay-offs and wage cuts, would minimize the scale of people being laid off but also the people still employed would have a lower wage than their current one. However, it would still be higher than the industry average.
Plant closes down, the company could cut its losses claim bankruptcy. All workers would be out of a job and because it is bankrupt there is no obligation to pay severance. No problems with wages because there is none to...