QuestionQuestion

1. Describe legal issues affecting businesses.
2. Describe the nature of legally binding contracts.
3. Explain the nature of legal recourse in resolving business disputes.
4. Use ethics in staff supervision.
5. Evaluate opportunities for potential company changes

CASE STUDY SITUATION

You are part of the management team of QUICK SHOP, a local grocery store chain that is located near a large university campus. You have just received communication from corporate headquarters that the union representing workers across the chain has voted to go out on strike. The workers have voted to strike against the company due to a reduction in health insurance benefits. The company argues that it has made a fair offer to the union, but the workers’ demands are excessive and could ruin the company. The corporate offer for health insurance benefits, while better than what employees receive on the national average, increases the cost to employees by nearly $200/month.

You need to find replacement workers quickly as ¾ of your employees are supporting the strike. Even though many of the employees at your location are college students and are mostly supporting the strike, you believe that you can attract replacement workers by advertising on the university campus. Money is tight for most students with the cost of education, food, and other expenses rapidly increasing.   

You have devised a plan to aggressively recruit students to fill the positions. You are offering an attractive wage rate and flexible schedules to anyone who will cross the picket line and work during the strike. You post the information on your website and have an assistant manager put posters up around campus. When the assistant manager returns from hanging posters, she indicates concern about the strategy. Many of the students she encountered seemed unwilling and several questioned whether what the store was doing was legal and/or ethical.   

YOUR CHALLENGE

The assistant manager has suggested that you take down the advertisement from the website and remove the posters from campus. The assistant manager believes that there will be significant adverse consequences of the decision to recruit replacement workers from the university campus. You need to make sure you completely understand the collective bargaining contract with the union and fully assess the legal and ethical risks of your replacement-worker strategy.   You recognize that you will need to address the situation from:

The strictly legal viewpoint
Moral and ethical viewpoint
From the point of view of what is best for the company in both the short and long-term

You understand that you must evaluate the situation from the perspective of all stakeholder groups.   

Time is of the essence, you need to find dozens of new employees within the next few days. You are meeting today with a representative from the corporate headquarters to discuss the situation. Is there another strategy that is more ethical? Is the recruitment of college students any different from recruiting from the general population to fill the open positions?

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At first collective bargaining contracts in general are signed for a period of time and are legally binding to both employers and the employees, and can be subjected to changes only if those changes are a consequence of bad results of the company (in most cases decrease in profit) or the regulations concerning the industry have changed in a way that the collective agreement also needs to be changed. The case of the QUICK SHOP is a classical example where the collective bargaining contract has been changed due to changes in national regulations and needs to be changed in an effort to make the company more profitable.

The case itself states that the corporate offer was better than what employees receive on the national average and increases the cost to employees by nearly $200/month, thus the need for the replacement workers is both legal and ethical. The legal point comes from the fact that any demand that comes from the union and it is in any way higher or better in relation to the national average (wages, benefits, work hours) is therefore excessive and should not be accepted....
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