Linswritings

Under Cover Boss visits Mack Truck Corporation

Posted on: February 21, 2011

Last night, CBS showed another episode of Under Cover Boss. This time the President and CEO, Denny Slagle, was from Mack Trucks. It was founded in 1900, has 5,000 employees and is a $4B corporation. In 2008 Mr. Slagle took over the reins and unfortunately the recession hit the next year. Just like other corporations they had to downsize their facilities and offered other locations to their employees if they wanted to stay with the corporation.

Mr. Slagle’s intent was a “health check” on the corporation to see how everyone was doing. He headed to Hagerstown, MD where the Mack truck engines are built. He was part of an assembly line and found it difficult to keep up with the repetitive motions of that job. Tracy, the person training him, loves this job because she doesn’t have to think about anything but doing the repetitive motions of assembling a part of the engine. They have to produce 140 engines daily with about a 2 minute time frame. I don’t think I could do that. Tracy was one of the employees who had to move from their South Carolina plant to Maryland to keep her job and found not being with family was very difficult – but at least she has a job!

He went to another assembly line that upgrades the engines to meet emissions control. There he found an employee who loves his job but had family problems. The rest of the show was the same old same old type of scenario that Under Cover Boss shows. Although it was quite entertaining and informational, watching how Mack trucks are built are fascinating, this show is really getting boring.

What did we learn from this show? Not much, the boss is still incompetent but a generous guy. He gave money to the people he met, along with trips and awards.  He promised that upper management will do more town hall meetings to keep the employees informed about the company but that was all that seemed really important.

How ironic this show was when compared to the striking union teachers in Wisconsin. Here you have people who really want to keep their jobs and love the company they are working for. I don’t know if Mack Trucks is a union shop or non-union. But when given employees a chance to work or not work – they chose to work. The teacher union members should take a page out of the playbook of this show and show some loyalty to their job and their employer. But then, union members get paid whether they work or not and that’s the problem.

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