Business ethics is a concept which takes its base at the core of life ethics such as truth, honour, respect and a moral code that must be innate to each person. The parties should follow the rules and policies for employers and employees to have a bond and a common goal. The system breaks down once one side starts being unethical. This has happened during and prior to the voting process to arrange for a union at Tennessee’s Volkswagen.
The fact that the employees did arrange for and wanted to vote for joining the union means that they had plans of actually succeeding and expected specific results. There were talks of unethical conduct from the side of officials and plant managers as the workers have been manipulated into refusing to vote or changing their mind. The promised tax cuts and threats that the plant would not expand were some of the major points which could have led to an improper presentation or future election, one which would not be affected by the higher ranking positions at Volkswagen.
Currently, there are three possible routes Volkswagen management can take. The first one pertains to the appeal to the National Labor Relations Board, so that they can give out a permission to start the formation of a worker/management council. This would ensure that even in the absence of union representation, the workers receive some form of support and their needs will be heard and acted upon. In order to proceed with this step, the company needs to explain to its employees how the new system will work and what benefits they can expect.
The second option would be to lobby the state legislature not to enact and the governor not to sign, punitive legislation, and politicians from the mayor to the U.S. senators from Tennessee not to interfere with the company’s relationship with their employees. Also, the plant and workers would start the preparation for another election next year, which would show how much the general views would have changed. In addition, the option would prove whether the workers indeed wanted a union and that unethical conduct was present during the first voting and election process.
Third, the organization can make it clear to the state legislators, the mayor, the governor and U.S. senators that if they interfere with the next year’s election, Volkswagen will build another U.S. plant in a less hostile state and shift work away from the Tennessee plant within five years. This action would ensure that the high ranking decision makers are aware of the consequences brought about by their unethical behavior and illegitimate mentions.
The best recommended option is to prepare for another election. The worker/management council is a good idea, but it is not quite the same as the union. For the workers to feel the company’s support and reliability, they must join the union which would represent their interests and policies. The third option is also effective, but it is a little rash, and will be most discouraging to the workers from Tennessee. Some will not be able to relocate, so, as a result, their positions will be lost to people in another state. Also, in all fairness, Volkswagen must provide another opportunity for a fair and equal environment. In case things do not change during the next election, the third option would be best for the company and its workers. Hopefully, the management and workers will be able to find common ground and reach a resolution which will be beneficial to both sides.