Death by Union

As people who read me already know, I am a member of an “association” which is, of course, essentially a union.  They negotiate for our contracts.  Our contract expires in 2014 and I shall, with much luck, be retired before its expiration.  And no, upon retirement, I don’t get “medical for life.”  As a matter of fact, my medical coverage stops completely when I retire.

I don’t, however, get to throttle the county into bankruptcy if everyone in my department were to engage in a strike (which won’t occur for a myriad of reasons, lawfully).

Precisely as a number of unions did against Hostess Brands, Inc.  And with that, the company shut down its plants, laid off 18,000+ workers and stopped baking.

From back in April of 2012:

A union official representing workers at Hostess Brands Inc. said Monday that he isn’t optimistic the two sides will come to an agreement over workers’ contracts before the dispute lands in bankruptcy court.

Hostess has said it will ask the court this week to toss out its existing union contracts if its workers don’t accept cost-cutting proposals in its “final” offer. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in January, citing rising competition and pension and medical costs.

Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters union, says his union’s members will walk off the job if the court throws out the contracts. CEO Greg Rayburn says a strike will force the company to shut down and liquidate.

The court threw out the contracts.  The unions struck.  And the company shut down

Hostess is going through a liquidation hearing today, as a matter of fact, regarding its 33 nationwide plants, one of which is in Sacramento where I work.  There were 300 workers laid off in Sacramento, and about 1,850 in the state of Fornicalia.

A bit of a final notation: how can one company function competently and efficiently under the 12 unions and 327 separate contracts formerly operating at Hostess Brands?

Apparently: it cannot.



7 thoughts on “Death by Union

  1. Unions were valuable back in the day. Back when there were no laws on the books to protect workers from corrupt employers. NOW we have so many laws on the books, companies are leaving America to find decent workers. Now we have laws on the books that are so slanted toward the employee that companies have to go through a hiring process that is worse than vettting a Republican presidential candidate. IF a person is hired, firing them especially if their are a so-called minority is damn near impossible without risking a law suit.

    • Make no mistake:

      Unions DEFINITELY had a place in time, when the concept of business was in its infancy and the relationships between employers and employees were likewise growing and being crafted.

      But when a union can shut down a function because ONE of its members isn’t involved in moving a potted plant from point A to point B, or when a requested function isn’t accommodated because only one person can do the job, or when a union can shut down an entire company — in re HOSTESS BRANDS — then you have power that is beyond responsible and reasonable control.


    • You have to get down to the physical versus mental job list. And that’s how basic it gets.

      When America was Agrarian, the bulk of the work required physical labor. Much physical labor in the 20s and 30s and 40s and even into the 50s.

      Then menial and physical labor started to diminish. And then Peter Drucker started to factor into the equation. “Knowledge workers” vs manual workers.

      In my job, in law enforcement, I am actually a Knowledge Worker. My department pays me — at my advanced age — not for my physical labors, but for the things that I know when Bad Shit steps off and I can walk in and SOLVE problems with my requisite Training, Education and EXPERIENCE.


  2. At this point in time and with globalization many unions are a danger to the economic well being of the country. They did serve a purpose in their day, but for the most part those days are gone. I don’t have the figures, but I would suspect that more jobs have been exported overseas due to excessive union influence than for any other reason.

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