When do principles trump the profit motive? Georgia Power and The Shaw Group face that dilemma today. On the front page and on the editorial page of The Augusta Chronicle April 20, this question was brought to the forefront. There were two diametrically opposing views of American and private-citizen values of our society and country.
On the front page ("Unions in deal to train workers"), the Chronicle writer wrote that a "deal" had been made between Georgia Power and the Obama administration to perhaps accept an $8.33 billion federal "tax-funded" loan guarantee in building two new Plant Vogtle reactors in exchange for Georgia Power and Shaw using "only" union labor during construction.
IF THIS BARGAIN with the devil is made, what will happen to the thousands of nonunion jobs promised to Burke and surrounding counties? According to the union spokesman, the "deal" would lead to other, union-only nuclear construction jobs throughout the country.
The Shaw Group has, in the past, been a principled company that believes in saving their clients money while effecting cost-efficiencies by operating in a nonunion "freedom of choice" environment. The company apparently does not believe in forcing employees to join a union to work for The Shaw Group, and requiring employees to pay union dues to have a job.
The Obama administration has pledged, and is working hard, to unionize all American labor by hook or by crook, including passing a law that would require companies to deal with unions without employees having a choice.
GEORGIA POWER, or any other business, should and must evaluate any monetary savings that could be realized by accepting the Obama bribe. It is my understanding that, if accepted, Georgia Power would save approximately $300 million in interest payments over a period of five or six years. This of course could possibly affect the cost of power to the consumer, however minimally.
This is where the second Chronicle piece, on the editorial page, enters the picture.
At the Verizon Heritage golf tournament, pro golfer Brian Davis had a similar principle/character decision to make. He could likely win his first American PGA golf tournament at age 35 by cheating, or show his class and principles and be able to sleep at night.
He chose the latter, and called a penalty on himself that no one else would have ever known about. He made the right choice, and lost the golf prize of his life -- but he can face himself, his family, and the golf world.
Can Georgia Power make this choice -- not just for the sake of the company and stockholders, but for the ethics and principles that this country has always stood for?
Hopefully, Georgia Power will be a winner and stand up, as did Brian, and say, "Enough is enough."
(The writer is founder and CEO of the staffing and recruiting company MAU Inc. in Augusta.)