The Moral Issue of the Union vs. Burns Meats Ltd.

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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. ... ... middle of paper ... ...olution outlined. All other possible alternative outlined would not have satisfied the conditions set. The condition being, that the solution must be beneficial to all stakeholders, namely the workers and the Burns itself. By accepting the pay cut the Union would have done so to benefit the greatest good, which is in accordance with the theory of Utilitarianism which is a branch of Consequentialism. Therefore, if the Guy decision-making model had been used in deciding whether or not to accept the pay cut, the decision would be made to accept the pay cut. All the workers would still have paying jobs and Burn’s plant would not have had to close down, but instead remained open, which ultimately benefits all stakeholders. Work Cited: Cohen, S., Grace, D., & Holmes, W. R. (2010). Business ethics: Canadian edition. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

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