Kraft Foods’ 2009 Conflict in Argentina: A Turning-Points Analysis of a Labor-Management Negotiation
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This article analyzes a 4-month-long labor dispute that unfolded in Argentina between Kraft Foods Argentina’s (KFTA) management and its workers’ union delegation at the firm’s largest plant on account of the 2009 A(H1N1) influenza pandemic outbreak. This crisis included a siege of the firm’s headquarters; the inception of a special labor–management negotiation process, a mandatory conciliation, issued by Argentina’s Labor Ministry; a 150-worker layoff; the occupation of the firm’s plant by 40 workers and their violent eviction by the provincial police force; the firm’s threat to sell off all its assets; and a massive demonstration to pressure the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina. Eventually, the parties reached an agreement and signed Act of Reconciliation to end their conflict. To better understand its complex dynamics, we have used Druckman’s turning-point framework —precipitants, departures, and consequences (Druckman, 1986, 2001; Druckman, Husbands, & Johnston, 1991) to examine KFTA’s conflict. Our single-case study explores how negotiators managed their organizational conflict and demonstrates the usefulness of the turning-point framework to extract practical implications. This may help labor–management negotiators to avoid conflicts or to attain better, enduring agreements.