You are the plant manager for Harlow Romance Novels, a distribution company for romance novels from a major publisher. You have both an internet site (40 percent) and a traditional brick-and-mortar business with phone sales representing 40 percent of your business. A declining 20 percent of the business comes from mail-in orders. All three types of orders are processed in the plant located in Amherst, NY. Twenty-five percent of your production employees are temps hired from Robert Raft Agency, a specialist in temporary employees. The major production jobs and their wages are listed below.

Drivers get books stored on pallets from their warehouse location and move them to location for packing. Packers take books from boxes as needed to complete orders. Expediters fill special rush orders and get single copies of books needed by packers to complete orders. Inspectors check packing slips against actual hard copies of books to make sure orders are complete and accurate. Employees begin as packers and move up the career path through expediter and inspector to forklift operator. Packer is the physically most demanding job, with expediter having the greatest pressure (usually they are filling orders with strict time deadlines). Although only 25 percent of your production staff are temps, they represent 38 percent of the packers. By contract, these workers make 20 percent less wages than those posted above, and they are aware of differential between them and corporate workers. In recent months you have heard grumbling about the lack of fairness in this wage differential. After all, the temps say, they’re doing exactly the same job for less money. Moreover, they argue, their jobs are far less secure. And this is true: if layoffs occur, they’re in the temp ranks.
You’re starting to see signs of sabotage-mostly books with pages ripped out-and this isn’t caught by the inspectors. You think it might be temps acting out their anger, but it could be non-temps seeking to cause friction. Temps also have a 6 percent higher turnover rate across all job titles. You’re reluctant to stop hiring temps all together because you save about 8 percent in total labor costs. What would you recommenddoing?

  • CreatedSeptember 19, 2013
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