Reference no: EM132184501
Westfield News Service operates three newspapers within the northern Indiana and eastern Illinois region. Their news service is centrally located in Hammond, Indiana, and papers are published and printed at the central location. The workers, including the news personnel, graphic designers, and everyone involved in the printing and distribution of the paper are represented by UAW Local 1234.
In recent years, Westfield has been losing significant money. In the recent contract, the union agreed to take significant concessions in order to guarantee job positions for the next three years. However, three months after the contract, a radical change in graphic design technology took place. The 12 senior graphic technologists lack the knowledge and skill base needed for the new technology; the six newest graphic technologists possess both the knowledge and skill bases, and can completely perform the graphic technology tasks formerly performed by 12 senior graphic technologists. The company has 12 senior employees for whom there is no work to do.
Management would like to lay off the 12 senior positions, because the jobs are not needed and the employees have no skills for other jobs. The company believes that it cannot afford to keep 12 extra people on the payroll at high seniority wages when there is no productive work for them to do…especially with the company losing money, and doing so could drive them into bankruptcy. Simply laying off 12 low seniority persons (which would include the six newer and more skilled graphic design technologists won’t work because the 12 senior employees still don’t have the skills to perform the jobs being performed by the six newer employees.
The union believes that since those jobs were guaranteed in the contract, the company needs to employ those 12 persons in their jobs or some equivalent job for the life of the contract, and threatens to file an unfair labor practice if the company follows through and lays them off. The union suggests as alternatives buying the employees out for the entire three years of the contract, or training them for new jobs for one year at full salary.
Your task: Taking either the union or management side, frame a position that you believe would bring the best benefit to both the side you represent and the company. Be cognizant of both the benefits and consequences of whatever choice you make.