Free Markets, Free People

6,000 union members cost 12,000 other workers their jobs

In a case study of cutting your nose off despite your face, union members who walked out on strike at bankrupt Hostess Brands (makers of Twinkies and other well known products) and refused to return to work by yesterday have forced the company into liquidation.  Of the 18,000 workers who will lose their jobs, about one-third were union members.

The company had offered a compensation package that had cuts (to include an 8% pay cut).  These were necessary during bankruptcy reorganization to keep the company afloat.  The union refused the package and walked out.

Apparently, 100% of nothing is much better than 92% of something … especially in this job market.

Congratulations Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco workers and the Grain Millers International Union, among others.  You put the capital “S” in Stupid, Selfish and Shortsighted (a crown previously held by the former union members of Eastern Airlines).

But I’m sure this will somehow end up being blamed on “greedy Capitalists” and be declared a “market failure” by the usual suspects.


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48 Responses to 6,000 union members cost 12,000 other workers their jobs

  • IIRC, laid off union workers get magnificent benefits that others don’t.

  • Even the Teamsters agreed to reductions and renegotiated deals, but the Bakers, not so much.  “They’re bluffing!”  – yeah.  guess not.

    • Showed THEM, b’gawd…!!!

    • What was really interesting was that the Teamsters were very critical of this other union’s intransigence that ultimately led to today’s decision.  As the economy declines and more and more companies face these kinds of decisions a la Hostess, I’m curious to see how the several unions will behave with such competing interests.  Could we see them start to lay in on each other very publicly?  Hmm…

  • Hostess has been on the verge of bankruptcy for a decade, due to mismanagement.  The strike was simply an extension of the mismanagement, and shouldn’t be blamed for the firm’s failure.  How long can people go on suffering from the pains of poor management—expressed by low wages and limited benefits.  Unions simply serve as the voice of the workers against the lawyers of management.

    • And here comes the Hostess twist: because Tim Collins of Ripplewood, was a prominent Democrat, a position which allowed him to get involved in the first bankruptcy process in the first place, due to his proximity with the Teamsters’ long-term heartthrob Dick Gephardt (whose consulting group just happens to also be an equity owner of Hostess). In other words, the traditional republican-cum-PE scapegoating strategy here will be a tough one to pull off since the narrative collapses when considering that it was a Democrat who rescued the firm, only to see it implode in a trainwreck that has resulted in the liquidation of a legendary brand, and 18,500 layoffs.


    • “How long must they suffer LOW wages and LIMITED Benefits!”
      Here, let me give you some other useful catchphrases from your moronic leftist fantasy world….
      “The workers control the means of production!”
      “The struggles of the Urban Proletariat!”
      “This was a political struggle of the masses against their capitalist oppressors!”
      “How long” …now they get to see how long they can suffer NO wages and NO benefits.  Sweet.

    • You kind of make it up as you go, don’t you?

      The key problem, as cited here, was legacy pension costs.

      By the way, speaking of making it up as you go, you did get my note about the “big bang” being the theory of a Roman Catholic priest didn’t you?

    • poor management – as I stare at that phrase I marvel at the ignorance packaged into those two little words.
      “Poor management”….so, who do you think usually creates and manages companies?  You think the government founded Hostess and turned it over to bad capitalist managers?
      Or perhaps you think the non-management employees founded the company and being happy little bakers decided they only wanted to bake and not to manage, and so THEY turned it over in good faith to bad managers with poor skills who then proceeded to ruin the company the little non-management bakers founded?
      Who EXACTLY do you think builds companies?  Could it be the guys who founded them?  capitalized them?  invested in them?  Do you think maybe they often manage them?  Didn’t those poor managers actually HIRE all the good little bakers?  Were they bad managers when they HIRED those bakers, or did that come later?  Were there some good managers?  Were they good socialists not interested in profit?
      Or perhaps there a part of the universe they didn’t tell me about in my management classes, a part I haven’t seen in 35 years of working in large and small corporations?  Are there little builder elves who run around creating companies for people to work in so everyone can have a happy little job with great pay and good benefits?   Do they leave them laying unguarded so sometimes poor managers show up and take the companies over?
      Does the world OWE those employees a job at that company even if their management is poor?  Should the government come in and replace those ‘poor managers’ with ‘good managers’?   Could that happen under an evil Republican administration, or would it only be possible under a good Democratic administration?
      What a transparent little communist shill you are Tad.

    • ” How long can people go on suffering from the pains of poor management”

      As long as they can vote Democrat. See California, Massachusetts, etc.

    • “poor management—expressed by low wages and limited benefits.”

      So good management pays high wages and big benefits?  The actions of the competition in the market place have nothing to do with it?

      Today’s word; Dolt.

    • If they were suffering from low wages and limited benefits, why didn’t they leave for better jobs elsewhere?

    • Try spinning this …

      “Digging in for the looming battle over deficit-reduction, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will make organized labor’s case Thursday against cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, declaring the doomsday debt talk in Washington a “manufactured crisis.”

      … I fail to see the logic.  We’re running a $1 trillion+ deficit every year now .. and don’t try blaming it on anybody .. it exists and must be dealt with.

      • Lil’ Dick Trumka starts from this premise…
        We have PLENTY of money.  There is no crisis.  It is all made up.  We just have to GET the money away from the people who own it.

    • Yep it’s always the greedy management’s fault, not the greedy unions! If you don’t like your pay, look for another job! Oh wait I forgot, union members don’t look for work they just blindly go where the union tells them!

    • Is there such a thing as  “poor management”  in a union , or do only  “evil” , “capitaliistic” companies have that trait ? …. Well , suffer no more my friend , since the company is “gone” … Fell better , now there are no more worries about “mis-management”   , or are you really that stupid ?  …. frank k.  (N.Va.)

    • According to what I read on CNN, the bakers were paid $20/hr and had health insurance benefits.  Yet you want to claim that this is paltry?  Give me a break.  There are quite a number of people in this country right now who’ve lost well-paying jobs they’ve been at for years, myself and some members of my family included, who would LOVE to make that kind of wage at the moment.  If this is the argument that the unions are going to take they won’t find many people who are sympathetic.

    • So Tad, what are you going to do when someone moves YOUR cheese?

    • Regardless of the source of the failure, this was an attempt to salvage the company’s remains.  It was already dead.  They turned a structured bankruptcy into a liquidation over a 8% pay cut.

  • Whose union workers were more (s)chizo, Eastern’s or United’s? 🙂

  • I’ll miss twinkies but no lie – this news makes me happy. They got what they deserved.

    • Buck up, Shark…
      The products won’t disappear, and even the brands could well just be sold as assets in Chapt. 7.
      Besides, there is a Mexican analog here in Texas.  Maybe I’ll send you some…at a profit, of course!

      • Bimbo products are the big winner here

      • Correct, and I’m guessing that whoever buys the brand and the recipe will be producing the product without union workers. Hey, tad, does that mean they have “better management” because they knew enough to not get ensnared by delusional unions?

        • No, those companies should pay even if there’s no profit, even if the ‘rich’ bastard owners have to take a loss so the workers can enjoy good pay and benefits.  It’s not about freaking reality here, it’s about the inalienable right to have a job you like that pays good wages and has good benefits.  Tad is talking about RIGHTS! dammit!  Guaranteed positive outcomes where all the smurfs love their work, and live in a happy community being productive and well rewarded by….well, someone or other…

      • I find the Walmart generic Twinkies better than the current Hostess brand.

    • Actually twinkies suck today.
      I’m sure its partly because I’m no long 8 years old.  But they also are way too bland for me just getting old.  I suspect government agencies and ‘mothers against fun childhoods’ having forced to a change from preservatives, away from saturated fat, trans fats, etc… killed the flavor.

      • Haven’t had a Twinkie for decades … but I’m pissed that a truly clueless bunch of yahoos have decided that their 8% pay cut is worth theirs and everyone else’s jobs.

        • The Hostess workers in Maine are literally taking “we showed Hostess!” approach it seems.
          I’d never make a good union worker I guess, or even a good Aztec, I just can’t properly enjoy a good senseless sacrifice.

  • I understand the vicious capitalists are already trading in Twinkies on Ebay and making profits off the sad destruction of a ‘murican icon.   $60.00 for a box of ten.

  • When a union exists in a company, you must consider that union part of management. If the company fails due to “management”, then the union is also to blame, after all, they are supposed to be better than individual workers to pay attention to these things.
    Also, I bet 99 weeks of unemployment and other  benefits helps the union make that decision much easier.

  • Was Twinkie the Kid available for comment?