US Boss Freed After Being Held By China Employees

Chip Starnes reaches deal on workers' severance packages

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 26, 2013 6:24 PM CDT | Updated Jun 27, 2013 1:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's not your usual employer-employee negotiation: A US company boss held hostage by his Chinese workers for nearly a week has left the plant. Chip Starnes said his company struck a deal to pay the dozens of workers who had demanded generous severance packages—even though they weren't being laid off. Some workers had said that when they saw equipment being packed up and itemized for shipping to India last week, they feared the whole medical supply plant was moving. Some said they were owed unpaid salary. "It has been resolved to each side's satisfaction," said labor official Chu Lixiang.

Starnes, a co-owner of Florida-based Specialty Medical Supplies, earlier said he had been forced to give in to their demands. He summed up the past several days as "humiliating, embarrassing, saddened." During his time as hostage, he spoke with reporters through a barred window of his office where he spent much of his time. All the workers will be terminated, Chu said; Starnes said some would later be rehired."Yes!! Out and back at hotel," Starnes wrote in a text message. "Showered... 9 pounds lost during the ordeal!!!!!!"

A frame grab of US executive Chip Stames, in his barred window office in Beijing.
A frame grab of US executive Chip Stames, in his barred window office in Beijing.   (YouTube)
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