Rande and Georgia Somma 2018 Integrity First Scholarship Application Form
Email address *
Since 2008, the generosity of the Somma family has changed the lives of more than two dozen RMU students. The Rande and Georgia Somma Integrity First Scholarship provides RMU SBUS students the opportunity to apply their business ethics training to a wide range of ethical dilemmas including situations involving employers' regulation of employee behavior outside the workplace, whistle blowing, outsourcing and financial mismanagement, among others. Scholarship applicants are challenged with developing a course of action highlighting responsible and ethical business practices.

• FOUR (4) $5000 scholarships will be awarded to 4 Business School undergraduate students for Fall 2018 term

• Students must have 3.0 overall GPA and need to have completed at least 30 credits by the beginning of the Fall 2018 term. Transfer students need to have completed at least 30 credits by the beginning of the Fall 2018 term of which a minimum of 9 credits must be from RMU.

Scroll down for the 2018 Case and Application
• Scholarship recipients will be notified by August 1, 2018
2018 Rande & Georgia Somma “Integrity First” Scholarship Case
Raising the Minimum Wage: Moral Necessity or Unreasonable Business Constraint
Minimum wage legislation is a hotly debated topic that fuels disagreement among economists, politicians, and ethicists. A minimum wage is the lowest level of compensation employers legally have to pay to workers. The primary reason for such legislation is to ensure employers, who some believe have higher bargaining power in the labor market, do not exploit their workers and provide a fair living wage. While the current Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour, a range of jurisdictions have higher minimum wage requirements and there has been a call in some quarters to raise the wage to as much as $15/hour. One study suggests that two-thirds of Americans support a minimum wage of at least $10.10 (1). The issue has also been inserted into the debate over the widening gap between executive compensation and compensation for the average worker. Some would suggest that the trend towards the increasing emphasis on short term financial results rather than long-term sustainability shifts management focus from "managing the business" to "managing results". This shift places executive compensation and shareholder return ahead of the wellbeing of the employees who essentially become “line items on a spreadsheet” (Somma). At the same time, others would suggest that raising the minimum wage hurts not only small-business owners but also the low-wage earners the minimum wage purports to help. The crux of this argument is that, the greater the discrepancy between the minimum wage and the wage that employers would otherwise pay in the free market, the fewer people the business will be able to employ.
Case Scenario
You are the owner of Billie’s Burger Barn, a chain of 12 fast food restaurants in a medium sized metropolitan city of around 250,000 people and an unemployment rate of about 3.5%.
Your Business:
Billie’s employs nearly 250 people with around 20 at each establishment including a full time manager and two assistant managers with the rest of the employees working less than 30 hours per week. Most of the employees earn the minimum wage of $7.25/hour but employees receive a $.75 raise after one year. For those who have more than three years of service, pay is $9.50/hour.
As with most businesses of this type many of the employees are high school and college students and turnover is relatively high (around the industry average of 44% (2)). Only a small proportion of your employees have been with the business more than three years. In recent years your workforce has become somewhat older and more diverse, however, with 25% of the employees now over 25 years old. Your labor costs are approximately 35% of total sales with about 28% of that tied to hourly employees. Food costs account for about one-third of expenses and your profit margin is around 5-7 percent. If the minimum wage increased to $9.40 per hour, Billie’s expenses would increase by approximately 10%.
There is a proposal being considered in the City Council to increase the minimum wage in the city from the current federal minimum wage ($7.25) to $9.40 immediately and $11.00 in $0.40 increments over the next 4 years. This will surely impact your business should it pass.

Scenario Questions:
Question 1
Discuss whether you believe government has a moral obligation to establish (and adjust) a minimum wage or whether the market should determine the level of compensation for any particular job.
Question 2
Assuming the minimum wage proposal passes:
a. What feasible options might you consider in the operation of your business in response to the increase in labor costs, weighing such factors as profit margin, price increases, and layoffs?
b. What ethical and practical issues would you consider in terms of your own financial well-being, the welfare of your employees, and the impact on your customers as you contemplate your options for responding to a minimum wage increase?
Question 3
Taking into account your answers to the questions above, discuss what you would do (in operating your business) in response to the increase in the minimum wage, and explain the reasons for your decisions.

Informational Resources on the minimum wage:
1. https://poverty.ucdavis.edu/faq/what-history-minimum-wage (hyperlink)
2. “The original purpose of the minimum wage was to stabilize the post-depression economy and protect the workers in the labor force. The minimum wage was designed to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of employees. Others have argued that the primary purpose was to aid the lowest paid of the nation's working population, those who lacked sufficient bargaining power to secure for themselves a minimum subsistence wage.” https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/minimum_wage

(1) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/minimum-wage-poll_us_570ead92e4b08a2d32b8e671
(2) http://smallbusiness.chron.com/employee-turnover-statistics-restaurants-16744.html

Case Analysis Submission Guidelines
Please follow the guidelines below in addressing this year’s ethics case:

• Format: Double‑spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, 1" margins, minimum of 4 pages and a maximum of 8 pages.

• Address each of the questions asked as part of this case analysis.

• Your case analysis should incorporate a variety of resources including outside resources, full citations, references and appendices as needed. Additionally, you may incorporate your own academic and/or work experiences. You must cite all sources used in your submission, if not you are in violation of the Robert Morris University Academic Integrity Policy. Wikipedia will not be accepted as a reference source, nor will Blog sites. Refer to the OWL website available via Purdue University (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/) for information on proper citation format.

• This case analysis is an individual assignment. As a Robert Morris University student, you are subject to the Robert Morris University Academic Integrity Policy (www.rmu.edu/academicintegrity). As a scholarship applicant, you are required to sign an affidavit ensuring that your submission represents your individual work. This statement is provided on the application. Submissions may be run through Turnitin to assure there is no plagiarism.

Deadline: Midnight, Friday, April 6, 2018
Case Analysis Assessment Categories
The following criteria will be used to evaluate each case.

1. Understanding of the Issues and its Implications
2. Originality in Approach
3. Coherent Line of Argument
4. Clarity and Effectiveness of Style
5. Research and Bibliography
6. Adherence to Format and Length Rules (Double‑spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, 1" margins, minimum of 4 pages and a maximum of 8 pages)

2018 Integrity First Scholarship Application
Candidates must electronically submit this application/affidavit along with your case analysis.
Student Name *
Your answer
Six Digit RMU ID *
Your answer
RMU Email Address *
Your answer
Number of Credits Completed *
Your answer
Number of Credits at RMU *
Your answer
Overall GPA *
Your answer
Within Major GPA: *
Your answer
Business School Department Major *
Electronic Signature
My electronic signature certifies that my analysis as submitted is my work, and mine alone.
Today's Date *
Check this box as representation of your electronic signature *
Submit Application via Email
Candidates must electronically submit this application/affidavit by clicking submit at the bottom of the application and emailing their written case by midnight, Friday, April 6, 2018 to: sbusethicscommittee@rmu.edu.

Save your case with your name and 2018 Integrity First case submission as the file name.

Example: Branvold2018IntegrityFirstCase

Call or email Scott Branvold, SBUS Ethics Committee Chairperson if you have any questions: 412-397-6375 (office), branvold@rmu.edu, or sbusethicscommittee@rmu.edu.

Please complete the captcha before submitting the form.
Never submit passwords through Google Forms.
This form was created inside of Robert Morris University. Report Abuse - Terms of Service - Additional Terms