Who: Automobile parts manufacturer Bridgestone/Firestone
The automobile parts manufacturer Bridgestone/Firestone was undergoing labour unrest at some of their North American tire plants after the company announced an increase of the working shift length and a wage cut for new hires. This resulted in severe strikes at some plants, disrupting normal operations. Rather than seeking dialogue, the management responded by hiring replacement employees.
The affected plants were much more likely to produce defective tires than the other plants during this period. This can be attributed in part to the use of replacement employees. However, product quality was especially low right after the management demanded contract concessions and later when replacement employees worked side by side with recalled strikers.
Ultimately, the defective tires resulted in a recall and the loss of over half the company’s stock value, a total of $9.2 billion, as well as human lives in accidents. The plant at which the worst labour unrest took place was ultimately closed.
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