Medical Device CEO HELD HOSTAGE in China

Medical Device CEO HELD HOSTAGE in China

June 27th, 2013 // 6:54 pm @

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The CEO of a medical device company in Florida is being held hostage at his firm’s factory in Beijing since June 21. His captors? His own employees.

The name of the CEO is Chip Starnes, and the firm is Specialty Medical Devices. The problem started when severance packages were given to 30 employees who were let go from the injection molding division. The company made the decision to move the operations to Mumbai, due to cheaper labor costs and because of the strength of the dollar compared to the rupee.

Starnes said in the announcement that the company only wanted to close the injection molding division. But the move started rumors that he wanted to shut down the entire plant. Angry employees trapped the boss in the factory and demanded severance packages.

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Starnes noted in a phone interview with the New York Times that they wanted severance and they also wanted to go back on the job, which is financially impossible.

One worker told the press in China that she had not gotten paid in 60 days. Starnes says that is not true. A union official there stated that workers want to be paid what they have not received and to get a reasonable severance package.

Starnes told the US media that his worked trashed his office and kept him without sleep by hitting the doors and glass in the factory.

Starnes is continuing to negotiate with the labor unions on how to settle the dispute. Chinese police have stayed outside the gates of the factory. Starnes is in contact with the US consulate in Beijing. The embassy has come to the plant to check on his condition. At this point, this is a civil dispute and the US government cannot do much.

Starnes hopes that he will not have to have his company leave China, and he hopes for a peaceful end to the dispute.

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