Ethic In Business: A Case Study

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This paper is an analysis of the closing of Speedy Motors Company's assembly plant in Eastland, Michigan and what might have been done differently. Speedy Motors Company (SMC) gave less than a month notice before they laid off nearly 2,000 workers and closed the facility. This facility had been providing jobs for the community for over 20 years.

Terms of the close, the plant should feel morally obligated to provide at least 60 days notice. "The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act is a federal law requiring employers to provide workers, their unions, and state and local government officials sixty days advance notice of any plant closing or mass layoff". (FindLaw, 2002.) This law applies to any private sector employers with at least 100 employees and are either closing the plant or laying off at least 33% of the employees.

As far as the benefits provided to the employees, attempting to find other jobs for the employees in one of the other SMC plants (especially with Management level positions) would go a long way for all parties. It would create goodwill in the closing and hiring already trained persons could cut cost in the long run. This may involve a move on the employees' part, but at least they would have the opportunity to keep their tenor with SMC. Depending on the contract signed by each employee, a severance may be in order. Also, setting up a short term employment office might be a good idea to get jobs for employees that cannot be relocated.

Stakeholder can be defined as "everyone with an interest (or "stake") in what the entity does". (Stakeholder, n.d.) That includes not only its vendors, employees, and customers, but even "members of a community where its offices or factory may affect the local economy or environment." (Free Definition, 2004). This definition clearly states all of the affected stakeholders. This closing would most definitely affect the entire community as the plant has been open and running in this city for over 20 years.

Attempting to place as many employees as possible at other plants across the nation would be the best way to help the employees as stakeholders. That considered with severance and 60 days notice, more than necessary had been done in keeping the stakeholders' interests in mind.

The primary responsibility would have to fall on the corporation as a whole. What other options they contemplated before deciding to close the plant cannot be known at this point, but there had to be some sort of "work around" that could have been attempted.

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Advertising or maybe an incentive plan for the employee to work harder or faster would be some of the plans that could have been tried first.

To communicate to the workers, press, and community the news of the shutdown, several meetings with the District Director (or equivalent) to explain the situation would need to be held. The District Director would need to set up a meeting with all the department heads. At this point, the District Director would personally explain the situation to each of the department heads. Then the department heads would schedule a meeting with each of their departments. After all of this is completed, an "all hands" meeting with everyone directly involved in order to clear up any rumors and supply answers to any questions.
Then flyers would need to be sent out requesting the community to meet at City Hall and discuss the impact this will have on the community. Everything would need to be done to make sure that the community understood that this was not the time to argue on whether this should happen, but rather to clear up any questions they may have. After everyone else is informed of the changes, then a press statement should be released. Perhaps by taking this personal "hands on" approach it will help in keeping everyone calm through the transition.

In conclusion, perhaps every possibility was not looked at before the decision to close the plant was made. Also, the decision to give the employees less than a month notice leaves the company open to lawsuits for back pay or benefits for the remainder of the 60 days that would be owed to the employees through The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

References

Free Definition. (2004) Retrieved from the World Wide Web on February 20, 2005 at http://www.free-definition.com/Stakeholder.html

Plant Closings and Mass layoffs. (2002) Retrieved from the World Wide Web on February 19, 2005 at http://public.findlaw.com/employment_employer/newcontent/flg/ch11/st11/qa7.html

Stakeholder. (n.d.) Retrieved from the World Wide Web on February 19, 2005 at http://www.xasa.com/wiki/en/wikipedia/s/st/stakeholder.html


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