A perfect local example of why people hate big corporations

A colleague of mine called it “mean-spirited and demoralizing.” He was referring to an article in the Milwaukee Business Journal that shed more light on what can only be described as disgusting treatment by Manpower toward their workers, whether they have the right to do it or not.

Before we get to the details, here’s the Reader’s Digest.

At Manpower here’s what’s happening.

You’re fired.

We’ll keep you around for a while and give you severance.

But you have to continue to show up.

And teach your replacement.

Your replacement is from overseas.

And have a nice day.

The Business Journal has more specifics, and it’s a PR nightmare for Manpower. The article is only available online to subscribers, but we have some excerpts that quite frankly are indefensible for the company, no matter what they spin. Here we go.

People losing their jobs in recent layoffs at ManpowerGroup’s Milwaukee headquarters are being required to train their replacements in order to receive their full severance package, multiple sources have told the Milwaukee Business Journal. The jobs will then be outsourced to India, sources say.

Documents obtained by the Milwaukee Business Journal that describe the “transition period” for employees between now and their final day with the company, say: “Performance expectations continue during this transition period, and upon successful and professional completion of your transition, you will be eligible for the Severance benefits.”

Essentially, employees are only receiving severance if they stay with ManpowerGroup for several months and train their replacements, who will then be located overseas.

Responding to the latest information, ManpowerGroup spokeswoman Chelsey Orlikowski released the following statement: “Our business is investing in technology to deliver competitive solutions for our customers. TCS is our technology partner. They began working with us last year to understand our processes so they can shift us more quickly from manual processes to more innovative, automated ones. More recently, we announced that unfortunately, over the next three to twelve months, there will be approximately 150 job losses in our Milwaukee headquarters. Those that will be impacted are being provided with a long notice period and supported with generous outplacement and career transition benefits that our business is well placed to provide. Understandably, this is a sensitive time for all those involved here in Milwaukee.”

In documents presented by ManpowerGroup to impacted employees and obtained by the Business Journal, the word “Severance” is listed with an asterisk in the “Separation” section, with the asterisk noting: “Provided with the condition of your successful and professional transition, and execution of your separation agreement without revocation. You will receive your final agreement approximately two weeks prior to the end of your transition period, and the first day you can sign your agreement will be your last day.”
“It was explained to us that we need to successfully transition our position to a person from TCS,” said a ManpowerGroup employee impacted by the layoffs, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They will be sending workers from India starting April 17. Those workers will be assigned to a person whose position is being eliminated. And we are to train these people who are coming from overseas in the details of our day-to-day job. We already have had, last week and this week, several hours of preliminary overview of our position — what kind of work we do, what are the specific (functions) we handle — and that took several hours for each person, with two representatives present from TCS already here at Manpower.”

…another ManpowerGroup employee impacted by the layoffs, also speaking on condition of anonymity (said)…

“Later that afternoon, I found out that I was one of 150 people whose jobs are being outsourced to India with TCS. End dates vary from person to person. In the meantime, we would be required to train our replacements. Then we would receive a severance if we adequately trained our replacements and if we stayed until our given end date. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be getting any sort of severance.”

Abdur Chowdhury, professor in the Department of Economics at Marquette University in Milwaukee, said this is a “growing phenomenon” with many corporations.

“When an employee voluntarily leaves his or her job, it is understandable to ask the employee to train the replacement,” he said. “However, when an employee is laid off, to ask him or her to train the replacement in order to receive the severance pay is inhumane.”


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