Fatal Introductions Chapter 1 Part 3

“Our competitors have already cut their labor costs to a fraction of what we are spending.  We are not losing customers as much as we are losing investors.  People with money want a return on their investment.  We cannot provide that, thanks to the high cost of labor.”  Nathanial Klossner was a tall slender man.  His brown hair was highlighted to project a youth that seemed to pass him.  He was an employee that Mr. Stanley, the Chief Executive Officer, of Stanley Tire and Rubber had leaned on for advice.  Nathanial had worked his way up through sales and into the boardroom.  Mr. Stanley had learned to rely on the sales background executives.  They were the ones who knew their clients.  Nathanial made his clients uncomfortable in making the deal which was a reason Mr. Stanley knew he was a good salesman.  “I have taken the liberty of commissioning a group to look at opportunities in Asia now that the trade restrictions are in our favor.”

“You know it kills me that we are thinking of doing this.”  Mr. William Stanley had sat behind the desk of his father for thirty years.  “My father made a promise to my grandfather that he would keep the business running even in the darkest times.”  The old man had worked there for over sixty years in one capacity or another.  Other than a few years at college he had a desk here.  He had known most the employees from the janitor to the staff in front of him now.  “We have always made a good product.  When did society reward those willing to put their neighbors on the street?  It pains me to think of what people will think of our brand.”

“I understand. There will be a lot of suffering, but if we do not do this, we will be killed as a brand period.”  Nathanial wanted Mr. Stanley to accept the present times. The business world was not about who made the best product anymore.  It had developed into, who could produce the product with the least cost.  “The first rule of business is survival.  Survival relies on flexibility.  Your father believed in that.  He would understand.”

Mr. Stanley paused, studying the initial projections.  “What can we do to do right by all these people?”  He looked over the data in front of him.  “How many people are we talking about?”

Denise Mitchell was the long standing Human Resource Officer.  She was responsible for every single person who cashed a check from the company.  Age had not taken too much from her looks. She had dedicated a good portion of her adulthood working her way up the human resource offices.  Her dark skin was still as smooth as the day she started out of high school.  “We will lose about thirty thousand or all of our union workers.  The number includes our facilities here, Kentucky and Michigan.”

“How many years of experience are we sacrificing?”   The number hurt him in its surreal amount.  There were no illusions that the numbers would be high, but to hear the number caused a flash of every face he encountered daily.  The empathy clashed with the practical words from Nathanial.

Denise interjected once more.  “Well, our average floor worker has nine years with us. We would essentially be starting over.  The chance to get some experienced trainers and managers to move may help, but it will cost us a pretty good amount.  We would have to maintain our sales team domestically.”

“We could offer the managers and trainers enough to move and make it where it would be difficult for them to turn down.”  Nathanial added to the conversation once more.  “Then we will weigh if it makes sense to keep them on or if the company can survive without them.”   The executive had placed his entire effort into this move.  He just had to convince the man in charge of his vision. “Foreign workers may be better than we have.”

“Thirty thousand,” The number was still weighing hard on his wrinkled head. The almost crushing weight blocked out the words of Nathanial.  “That would be large portions of families shattered.”

A wry smile crossed Nathanial’s face.  “Yes, it will be tragic.”

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