I worked at Mueller Water Products full-time (More than a year)
The company attempts to use compensation as a tool to retain employees, which is the only positive that any salaried employee can muster.
What was always a below-average morale has only gotten worse in the last 8 months. Relations between Union and Management are now nonexistent. What was once a stressful, but yet fairly supportive place to work has turned into a culture based on constant fear of losing your job.
I thoroughly enjoyed working there under past Management, but couldn't be happier with my decision to leave when I hear about the current state of the company.
Advice to Management
Stop trying to half-heartedly emulate more successful production systems (like TPS). The Japanese automotive companies that you are trying to mirror your business model on "get lean" by using a scalpel, not by irresponsibly wielding a meat cleaver.
If the plan is (as it appears from the outside; and apparently from the inside) to close the Chattanooga operation, retire the facility with some sense of grace and dignity...please do not just stand by while it bleeds out like a dying animal. Your people, people who have sacrificed much for the Mueller brand, deserve better than that.
They do place importance on family. The company as a whole is pretty nice. They have a large participation role in the community. They are a very old and established company and a world leader in their filed. They are the Cadillac of water valves. The company usually has a couple of "special" dinner a year where a spouse can also attend.
Some departments are very political and promotions are based partly on the buddy system. Some departments are ran in a very old world management mentality and communication is very limited especially between upper management and salary employees. The typical work hours is at least 9 hours a day and at times can reach 80+ hours a week. But at those hours salaried employees get paid for their extra hours. (not time 1/2 but just straight time).
Advice to Management
Communicate more and don't rule by intimidation, you draw more files with sugar than vinegar.
Just because that's the way you (management) were mentored, doesn't make if the correct way.
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