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Old 11-13-2012, 01:38 PM  
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is offline
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Strikes dont always work.

On the first business day after bakers went on strike against Hostess Brands, the Irving-based company said Monday it will permanently close three striking bakeries, putting 627 employees out of work.

Late Friday, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike against Irving-based Hostess to protest cuts and give-backs in the company’s last, best, final contract offer. The contract, which was rejected by 92 percent of the union members who voted, called, in part, for 8 percent pay cuts, a company hiatus from contributions to a multi-employer pension plan and changes in work rules.

As of Monday, bakers had set up picket lines at about 23 of the 36 bakeries and production plants operated by the bankrupt snack maker. Hostess said the strike “has prevented the facilities from producing and delivering products.”

“Our customers will not be affected because we will continue to serve them from other Hostess Brands bakeries, but sadly this action will result in the permanent closure of three facilities and the loss of 627 jobs,” said Gregory Rayburn, Hostess Brands’ chief executive.

“We deeply regret this decision, but we have repeatedly explained that we will close facilities that are no longer able to produce and deliver products because of a work stoppage — and that we will close the entire company if widespread strikes cripple our business.”

The bakeries to be closed immediately are in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati. The Seattle facility employs 110 people and produces Hostess cake products. The St. Louis facility employs 365 people and produces Hostess cakes and Nature’s Pride and Wonder breads.

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/h...cincinnati.ece
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:11 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by HolyHandgernade View Post
Once again, its blame American Workers time, unions are the bogey man. Maybe, for just a bit more perspective:

Since 2002 Hostess has hired 6 CEOs and none were able to turn the company around.

Hostess began closing plants in 2003.

In 2004, after failed restructuring, Hostess filed for bankruptcy. The BCTGM (that's the union in question here) agreed to wage and benefit concessions saving the company a reported 110 million. Money that was never reinvested into the company.

In 2009, emerging from bankruptcy, Hostess is controlled by a private equity firm and two hedge funds. Company's debts grow while sales decrease. Hmmm, anybody remember the Kaybee Toys saga?

In 2011 company is floundering and blames unions demanding concessions again. Workers refuse. Why would you give again to a company that didn't reinvest the first time around and now using "equity" strategies to benefit the executives?

2012 Hostess files for bankruptcy, demands huge givebacks and stops paying pension obligations. Union files complaint with NLRB. BCTGM goes on strike. Hostess announces liquidation.

Like you guys said, its all American workers' fault. Bad management had nothing to do with this.
That doesn't change the fact that there was no more money to give, and that the smaller union forced the company to go out of business despite the wishes of a majority of the employees.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:48 AM   #152
Buehler445 Buehler445 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyHandgernade View Post
Once again, its blame American Workers time, unions are the bogey man. Maybe, for just a bit more perspective:

Since 2002 Hostess has hired 6 CEOs and none were able to turn the company around.

Hostess began closing plants in 2003.

In 2004, after failed restructuring, Hostess filed for bankruptcy. The BCTGM (that's the union in question here) agreed to wage and benefit concessions saving the company a reported 110 million. Money that was never reinvested into the company.

In 2009, emerging from bankruptcy, Hostess is controlled by a private equity firm and two hedge funds. Company's debts grow while sales decrease. Hmmm, anybody remember the Kaybee Toys saga?

In 2011 company is floundering and blames unions demanding concessions again. Workers refuse. Why would you give again to a company that didn't reinvest the first time around and now using "equity" strategies to benefit the executives?

2012 Hostess files for bankruptcy, demands huge givebacks and stops paying pension obligations. Union files complaint with NLRB. BCTGM goes on strike. Hostess announces liquidation.

Like you guys said, its all American workers' fault. Bad management had nothing to do with this.
Nobody is saying that the company was insanely profitable or even doing an acceptable job of running their business. But the fact remains that the union of 5,000 people killed 18,500 jobs.

And what do you do when you're in trouble? Try to get better. That's what DM was doing? Do you really think the management team was the same through 6 ****ing CEOs? But they were attempting to turn it around. It's not like the fat cats at the top were just sitting around, wiping their asses with $100 bills and eating twinkies all day.

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Old 11-17-2012, 07:51 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by Buehler445 View Post
I understand, but my hope is that these type of stories deal a blow to organized labor. Lets be real here, labor forces are not being abused and working conditions are far from brutal. Unions have outlived their good. Lets get them the **** out of my country.
Unions serve a very good purpose. But America has it all wrong. Unions are adversarial. In Germany, unions and companies work collaboratively. In America, it's about winning a fight. In Germany, it's about negotiating a middle ground.

That's the big problem here. We can't pretend that corporations are faultless. We also can't ignore that our unions are doing a shitload more harm than good right now. Because to your point, workers aren't abused and working conditions are brutal, but much of that can be attributed to unions.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:00 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by Buehler445 View Post
Nobody is saying that the company was insanely profitable or even doing an acceptable job of running their business. But the fact remains that the union of 5,000 people killed 18,500 jobs.

And what do you do when you're in trouble? Try to get better. That's what DM was doing? Do you really think the management team was the same through 6 ****ing CEOs? But they were attempting to turn it around. It's not like the fat cats at the top were just sitting around, wiping their asses with $100 bills and eating twinkies all day.

JFC
They were still getting paid handsomely, even as their company burned to the ground. Most of those fired CEOs were likely paid a handsome golden parachute, which means you are paying a bazillion dollars to a leader who failed. And you're right. New CEOS mean new management, which mean new change, which means a shitload more time, money, and resources have to be spent just to implement change. I have a huge problem with executive compensation. Executives are getting paid to fail. That, or they are motivated by short-term incentives.

That money could and should have been spent on investment. They could have built more or more efficient plants. Upgraded their processes and systems. Potentially managed closure of an ineffective plant.

I hate what unions have become. I think this story is pretty amusing. But let's not dance around the fact that they are the ones getting fired for a leadership that failed the company for years and got paid handsomely to do it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:12 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
They were still getting paid handsomely, even as their company burned to the ground. Most of those fired CEOs were likely paid a handsome golden parachute, which means you are paying a bazillion dollars to a leader who failed. And you're right. New CEOS mean new management, which mean new change, which means a shitload more time, money, and resources have to be spent just to implement change. I have a huge problem with executive compensation. Executives are getting paid to fail. That, or they are motivated by short-term incentives.

That money could and should have been spent on investment. They could have built more or more efficient plants. Upgraded their processes and systems. Potentially managed closure of an ineffective plant.

I hate what unions have become. I think this story is pretty amusing. But let's not dance around the fact that they are the ones getting fired for a leadership that failed the company for years and got paid handsomely to do it.
I don't think anyone is losing sight of that, but companies don't owe employees good management. They owe shareholders good management and the leadership is accountable to the shareholders. Workers who think management sucks should vote with their feet or live with the results.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:31 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I don't think anyone is losing sight of that, but companies don't owe employees good management. They owe shareholders good management and the leadership is accountable to the shareholders. Workers who think management sucks should vote with their feet or live with the results.
I think a lot of people do lose sight of that, but I agree with your post. I think in many cases, union members are bullied by unions (see teacher's union) and others where the unions aren't working in the best interest of their members. In many cases, it's not the workers at fault, but the unions that enable them.

I don't blame workers for wanting better conditions for themselves. In many cases, the workers are uneducated about the issues or what's at stake. I blame the union leaders who should be the ones to decide what's negotiable. Again, the big problem is that our unions are adversarial, but that is just as much on the corporations who create that relationship. Our companies and unions fist fight instead of negotiating.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:58 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I don't think anyone is losing sight of that, but companies don't owe employees good management. They owe shareholders good management and the leadership is accountable to the shareholders. Workers who think management sucks should vote with their feet or live with the results.
You're contradicting yourself with this statement. You can't have a good brand to show the shareholders without good management of the company and the people working in it that provide the product the sharholders have invested in.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:33 AM   #158
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You're contradicting yourself with this statement. You can't have a good brand to show the shareholders without good management of the company and the people working in it that provide the product the sharholders have invested in.
Yup. This is exactly the problem with the American business system today. First of all, the idea that executives serve the shareholders is BS. They serve the boards, and in many cases, the boards are made up of cronies. Anybody who's followed Save our Chiefs knows the feeling -- it would take a serious groundswell of shareholders to actually force leadership to do anything in their interests.

More importantly... in terms of short-term interests, many shareholders are driven by tomorrow's stock price, not the stock price 5 years from today. Executives are compensated for these goals usually. That means that if you were to invest in a new plant that is in a far better market with far better technology, or you were to invest in helping a bleeding plant sell just a few more products a little more efficiently, you'll always go with Option B. There is a huge problem when companies believe that investing in growth, better serving their employees, and marketing are considered expenses vs. ways to ensure the business grows 3 years from now.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:34 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Unions serve a very good purpose. But America has it all wrong. Unions are adversarial. In Germany, unions and companies work collaboratively. In America, it's about winning a fight. In Germany, it's about negotiating a middle ground.

That's the big problem here. We can't pretend that corporations are faultless. We also can't ignore that our unions are doing a shitload more harm than good right now. Because to your point, workers aren't abused and working conditions are brutal, but much of that can be attributed to unions.
Actually, its not one or the other. Sometimes the union has to take an adversarial position, but there are many unions that work collaboratively today, you just wouldn't know it because of all the right wing "unions are evil" propaganda that they increase exponentially whenever they get any example to to exploit. Then unions have to go into defensive posture. This is the result of polarized politics in the United States and tactics used to throw people's attention towards how to be envious of somebody else and blame them.

Are unions faultless? Of course not, but are they completely to blame? Hardly, but you wouldn't know because of the conservative echo chamber that is convinced they are still mob driven entities. The unions I am familiar with (air traffic controllers and pilots) do work collaboratively and have developed their own "professional standards" organizations to help self police our membership. The result? The safest most efficient system in the world. Despite air traffic control being "run by the government" filled with "public sector union employees", our airspace is run in a more cost efficient manner than Aeroeurope, a privatized entity, of comparable size.

I agree more unions need to move towards this model, but the solution is not demonizing them and looking to eliminate them, which has been the right wing mission, and stories like these very rarely give the management incompetency and the amount of dollars they wasted in the process. Very rarely do unions just sit around and one day say, "You know what, I don't think we're getting paid enough despite the hard times, let's strike!" Its an infantile reaction born of prejudice, very rarely of an informed perspective.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:44 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Buehler445 View Post
Nobody is saying that the company was insanely profitable or even doing an acceptable job of running their business. But the fact remains that the union of 5,000 people killed 18,500 jobs.

And what do you do when you're in trouble? Try to get better. That's what DM was doing? Do you really think the management team was the same through 6 ****ing CEOs? But they were attempting to turn it around. It's not like the fat cats at the top were just sitting around, wiping their asses with $100 bills and eating twinkies all day.

JFC
I think the model, ever since the air traffic controllers strike, has been to bust the unions up, and management became more preoccupied with this endeavor, emboldened by the conservative think tanks in trying to turn popular opinion against unions. I honestly don't know what management was trying to do. What did they do with all the money from the first time around that they saved? How do I know they weren't victims of Bain Capital type of scheme where, "If we turn the company around, fine, if we don't , the top executives will still make out OK." The company doesn't want to open their books.

My point was that unions are not solely to blame for this like the OP wants to cast it. Its a one-sided, ill-informed public perception hack job intended to put unions in a bad light. You say it was 5000 that killed 18,500, and I'm say there's a much smaller number involved that may have had just as much if not more of an impact than the 5000, but you wouldn't know it from the OP.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:52 AM   #161
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I think a lot of people do lose sight of that, but I agree with your post. I think in many cases, union members are bullied by unions (see teacher's union) and others where the unions aren't working in the best interest of their members. In many cases, it's not the workers at fault, but the unions that enable them.

I don't blame workers for wanting better conditions for themselves. In many cases, the workers are uneducated about the issues or what's at stake. I blame the union leaders who should be the ones to decide what's negotiable. Again, the big problem is that our unions are adversarial, but that is just as much on the corporations who create that relationship. Our companies and unions fist fight instead of negotiating.
Well, speaking as a union member, but not a NEA member, this is rarely the case. In any large organization, flexibility is going to decrease as the membership goes up, even more so if the scope is national in structure. Union members are not "bullied". Unions look to attract membership, not create a bunch of people saying, "I'd get out if I could". Most unions today are professionals, not traditional blue collar, so they are not uneducated or clueless about the issues.

So, you really need to be specific instead of casting all unions with the same brush. Most unions have evolved, and many that haven't have management that doesn't want them to. They want to see the union busted, not improved.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:54 AM   #162
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One main problem with unions the right had was forcing others to join one.
I was introduced to the right on this idea—but that people had a right to join one. It was the forcing part.
Then, the economics of losing their own jobs was after that.

You can still say, unions have unionized themselves out of jobs because so many have left the country.
The principle still applies whether or not there's a handful that don't fit the mold. Exceptions always exist.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:01 AM   #163
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Actually, its not one or the other. Sometimes the union has to take an adversarial position, but there are many unions that work collaboratively today, you just wouldn't know it because of all the right wing "unions are evil" propaganda that they increase exponentially whenever they get any example to to exploit. Then unions have to go into defensive posture. This is the result of polarized politics in the United States and tactics used to throw people's attention towards how to be envious of somebody else and blame them.

Are unions faultless? Of course not, but are they completely to blame? Hardly, but you wouldn't know because of the conservative echo chamber that is convinced they are still mob driven entities. The unions I am familiar with (air traffic controllers and pilots) do work collaboratively and have developed their own "professional standards" organizations to help self police our membership. The result? The safest most efficient system in the world. Despite air traffic control being "run by the government" filled with "public sector union employees", our airspace is run in a more cost efficient manner than Aeroeurope, a privatized entity, of comparable size.

I agree more unions need to move towards this model, but the solution is not demonizing them and looking to eliminate them, which has been the right wing mission, and stories like these very rarely give the management incompetency and the amount of dollars they wasted in the process. Very rarely do unions just sit around and one day say, "You know what, I don't think we're getting paid enough despite the hard times, let's strike!" Its an infantile reaction born of prejudice, very rarely of an informed perspective.
That's fair. Sadly, the reason why unions are demonized are because the ones that are the most crooked are the ones that matter to us the most. Public sector unions matter when they fight for disproportionate benefits using taxpayer money. The NEA matters when they completely lost the objective of educating our kids.

You are absolutely right, though, that these are more extreme examples.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:13 AM   #164
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That's fair. Sadly, the reason why unions are demonized are because the ones that are the most crooked are the ones that matter to us the most. Public sector unions matter when they fight for disproportionate benefits using taxpayer money. The NEA matters when they completely lost the objective of educating our kids.

You are absolutely right, though, that these are more extreme examples.
We don't use taxpayer money. Unions are funded by their member's earnings, the government doesn't do much more than provide a space for them to operate on the facility. Do taxes formulate the revenue that pays my salary? Yes. But, once it gets to me, that's my money, I pay taxes on those same earnings just like anyone else. I choose to send a portion of my earnings for benefits of union membership.

I don't know enough about the NEA to state something definitively one way or the other, but I doubt they have "completely lost the objective of educating our kids". The NEA, I'm quite sure, has many objectives. I don't know what internal measures and initiatives the NEA supports, but I would be careful about using superlatives. The teachers in our district are outstanding and I haven't seen or heard a large backlash against the union from them.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:27 AM   #165
alnorth alnorth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyHandgernade View Post
Like you guys said, its all American workers' fault. Bad management had nothing to do with this.
You are missing the point. Whether or not management sucked in the past is irrelevant. The unions had a choice to make, a choice that was informed by unbiased outsiders who looked at the books and told the unions the truth of the situation. They could either have a job under these new conditions, or they could lose their job.

The membership of the teamsters union made the correct, dispassionate choice. The idiot bakers made the stupid, emotional choice.
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