Second Analysis Paper The migrant tomato farm workers article discusses the aspect of being one of the nations most backbreaking jobs. These tomato workers work for 10 to 12 hours a day picking tomatoes by hand, earning a piece-rate of about 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket. Furthermore a typical day each migrant picks, carries and unloads two tons of tomatoes, and instead of trying to move forward and improve the quality of work and pay the tomato growers keep migrant workers pay as low as possible. The reason behind it is the pressure the tomato growers face for keeping their operation cost low.
Although some of the pressure has come from increased competition with Mexican growers, most of it has been forcefully applied by the largest purchaser of Florida tomatoes the American fast food chains. In 2005, Florida tomato pickers gained their first pay raise since 1970s when Taco Bell ended a consumer boycott by agreeing to pay the extra penny per pound that will go directly to the pickers. Shortly after McDonald’s agreed to a similar arrangement, increasing the wages of its tomato pickers to about 77 cents per bucket.
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However Burger King remained adamant in refusal to pay the extra penny, such action caused the tomato growers to cancel its increase wage deals with Taco Bell and Macdonald’s. In according to such news, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange announced that it will not allow any of its members to collect the extra penny for farm workers, describing the surcharge for poor migrants as “pretty much near un-American. ” Furthermore, the Florida Tomato Growers threatened a fine of $100,000 for any grower who accepts an extra penny per pound for migrant wages.
The organization claims for such a fine is that such a surcharge would violate “federal and state laws related to antitrust, labor and racketeering. ” Yet it has not explained how that extra penny would break those laws; nor has it explained why other surcharges routinely imposed by the growers (for things like higher fuel costs) are perfectly legal. Burger King has played a prominent role in rescinding the pay raise offers, and justifying its behavior by claiming that it has no control over the labor practices of its suppliers.
In solution to these human right abuses, Burger King suggested that the poor farm workers of southern Florida need more money; they should apply for jobs at its restaurants. Burger King’s stock is controlled largely by Three private equity firms ??? Bain Capital, the Texas Pacific Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Last year, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd C. Blankfein, earned the largest annual bonus in Wall Street history, and is expected to receive an even larger one this year. Goldman Sachs has served its investors well lately, doubling the value of its Burger King investment within three years.
However when asked to provide a decent wage to migrant workers, a decision that will hardly affect the company, Burger King decisively said no. The most appalling fact in this article is it would cost Burger King only $250,000 a year to practice such wage increases to its migrant workers, leading to the ethical issues with the migrant tomato farm workers and Burger King Responsibility to help provide a decent wage. Burger King is facing a severe ethical issue, its responsibility to try to improve its migrant workers salary.
Although they do not directly work for the company, they work for the suppliers who Burger King receives its tomato product for. Thus it is responsible for the workers human rights, for the same reason as its adaptation of a far more activist approach with strict new rules on how its meatpacking suppliers should treat chickens and hogs. Burger King has several courses of options it can exercise based on the four ethical theories. The first one is free market ethics which is defined as the primary responsibility of management is to improve and increase profits of its corporation.
Using such approach Burger King would remain on the same course as it is headed in now, the advantages of using such approach is cutting the cost by $250,000 a year. Although such a cost is trivial to the corporation it can possibly also delay the future wage negotiation and raises for the workers. However the disadvantages of using such approach is the possibility of the market to be more “aware” and “worker friendly” leaving Burger King with a negative image that might impact sales, or even have them boycotted the same way as Taco Bell was.
The second approach Burger King can adopt is a utilitarianism view, which is choosing the option that will result in the greatest good for majority of the people. Using such approach Burger King should alter its current course and increase the migrant workers wages. The advantage is the pay raise the workers receive; the disadvantage is the possibility of the tomato growers to be affected negatively by being forced to pay the workers out of their pocket (profit) to keep the price low.
However if Burger King’s analyst can conclude that such action can have a severe implication with Burger King’s shareholders, in a means of future negotiation that will increase the cost of the supplies and therefore drive Burger Kings Profits down; then the shareholders and the tomato growers will be the majority or “the greatest good”, in which case Burger King will not take action to increase its wages of the tomato workers.
The third option Burger King can pursue is the ethics of care theory which states that the corporation is responsible to do the right thing in the given situation that will do the best for all the shareholders. Based on this theory Burger King should take the same course of action as with utilitarianism and increase the pay for the workers for the reason of being partially responsible for their way of life. The advantages and disadvantages are the same as with the utilitarianism approach.
Lastly, the last approach Burger King can take is the deontology theory which focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions. Based on this theory Burger King should impose the tomato workers to increase the wages without the worry of the consequences that might be imposed on them. The advantages and disadvantages of this theory is the same as with utilitarianism and ethics of care.
Based on the article Burger King is currently practicing the same corporate view as Friedman by claiming that it has no control over the labor practices of its suppliers. “Florida growers have a right to run their businesses how they see fit,” which is also the same response Home Depot officials had in their case with its day laborers. However I believe that just from the stance of morality Burger King should increase the pay of the migrant tomato workers especially if such an action is knowingly will not affect the company or its shareholders.
Therefore Burger King should adapt the same principles as Mackey had, in the regard of having values and a duty of care to its employees and try to do good while maintaining and not hurting the operation of the company. This case is similar to most of the presentations and cases we presented in class for the reason of Home Depot and Wal-Mart responded the same as Burger King when was asked why they did not practice a “higher” responsibility of care.
They all responded in the same Milton Friedman view of corporate responsibility, the responsibility to make profit for its shareholders, while not being responsible to its surroundings and the way profit is achieved. Lastly this case is also similar to the Enron presentation in which the top executives and top employees were only concerned in receiving their bonuses and salary, while ignoring the consequences of their actions and the impact dealt to the workers in the bottom of the food chain.
Same as this Burger King case in which the slight increase to the migrant tomato workers pay will not impact Burger Kings profitability and its shareholders one bit, yet they still insist not to increase the wages of the tomato workers. While the top 12 executives of Goldman Sachs (a large controller of Burger King Stock) receive bonuses more than twice as much as all of the roughly 10,000 tomato pickers in southern Florida earned that year.