“John McCulloch &amp

United Beef Packers: a Case Study"The processing line speed was set at 350 cattle per hour per month to meet the demand for beef. In 2000, line speeds in cattle plants was set by American Meat Association from 175 – 400 cattle per hour. Plant employees were by 2000 mostly immigrants whether legal or not. Because of fast annual turnover, personnel who were not exactly trained, remained at the meat packing plant on an average of six months. Work injuries remained common such as lacerations, stress disorder, infections, amputations and chemical burns, and the level of their repetitive stress was 75 times the national average. Despite the lack of protection of employees – financial, or otherwise, they stayed on. There was no other hope for livelihood except this meat packing plant.
This paper looks into the strengths and weaknesses of the company in terms of main issues arising from this case – from the perspective of ethical theories, particularly utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and rights-based moral theories. It also looks into opportunities and threats from the outside environment and then makes recommendations.
The difficulty of Unions forming in the industry because of fast turn-over, serves UBP good because it would mean less bargaining from labor and more chances at making profit. Without Unions bothering the company, its programs can continue on without having to spend time dialoguing with labor groups. Moreover, despite the failings of the company in terms of low wages, lack of tenure, and ensuring worker safety, there were no reports of violence in the work place. The workers are docile and not problematic. Because UBP does not seem to retain regular employees, the company is able to pay for cheap labor, and therefore can retain profits. The American Meat Association (AMI) represents the company’s interests in the trade so that the company can quietly concentrate on its work.
1. The profit motive has pegged the process line speed at 350 cattle per hour per month, compromising the safety of its workers and at the same time public health. UPB did not feel responsible for worker safety. Yet they made workers sign waivers that allowed UPB to administer medical treatment and disallowed them to seek outside medical opinion, seeing a non-company doctor, or suing the company. The signing of the waivers was standard operation procedure. UPB had wanted to hold a press conference to announce that it wanted to recall 250,000 pounds of ground beef that bad press claimed were tainted. However, even before, UPB was not careful in its hygiene measures in the plant. It was only after the press made noises that the UPB went through motions wanting to announce its intentions of recall meat. UPB appears more sensitive in trying to correct damages through the media than in doing its best in the plant so that it need not have a reason to answer to complaints.
UPB shipped its "seconds" or low-quality meat under another brand name other than UPB. The implication is that UPB knows that it is low-quality but that it would not like to be associated with it, hence the use of another brand name. Therefore, because it would not be using the company name, it found no need to be strict in terms of pick-up time and temperature. The health then of the public is placed at risk. The consequence of doing this may lead to