DANVILLE, Va. — When Ikea selected this fraying Virginia city to build its first U.S. factory, residents couldn’t believe their good fortune.
Beloved by consumers worldwide for its stylish and affordable furniture, the Swedish firm had also constructed a reputation as a good employer and solid corporate citizen. State and local officials offered $12 million in incentives. But three years after the massive facility opened, excitement has waned.
Ikea is the target of racial discrimination complaints, a heated union-organizing battle, and turnover from disgruntled employees. Some of the 335 workers complain of eliminated raises, a frenzied pace, and mandatory overtime.
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