Hostess , famous makers of Wonder Bread and Twinkies is closing. With Hostess closing, will any of the famous makers goods live on or are they really done?
We do know that approximately 18,500 people will be out of work due to Hostess closing.
A national strike by the relatively small Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) has caused such damage to Hostess that they claim that they cannot ever recover from the loses sustained. They are standing firm that the Hostess closing is directly attributable to the decision by the BCTGM to go out on a crippling strike and not making concessions to settle.
Allegations are flying. BCTGM President Frank Hurt is claiming that years and years of mismanagement, including numerous changes of top-brass, contributed to the upcoming demise of the 82 year old company.
Hostess had already reached an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Teamsters blasted the actions of the the much smaller BCTGM saying,
The BCTGM chose a different path, as is their prerogative, to not substantively look for a solution or engage in the process. BCTGM members were told there were better solutions than the final offer, although Judge Drain stated in his decision in bankruptcy court that no such solutions exist. Without complete information, BCTGM members voted by voice votes in union halls. The BCTGM reported that over 90 percent rejected the final offer and three of its units ratified the final offer
The ramifications of Hostess closing are far-reaching.
Namely the poor economy. There will be another nearly 20,000 people on the unemployment line which is not a good thing.
With Congress staying mum on any unemployment extension into 2013, all signs point to an economy that continues to pummel the average Joe into further and continued financial ruin.
The other thing that is of concern is the union themselves.
I grew up in an Union household. My Dad was a lifelong union member and later a union executive. Overall, he was a very good, intelligent and caring man but he was led around and dominated by his father and the final outcome of all his years dedicated to the unions was not so good.
He died way too young and, growing up, I remember him discussing very frankly with me his views on the pros and cons of the unions.
He told me that on the plus side that when the unions were first created, they really helped in getting fairer pay to everyone, in particular to women and minorities , and said that I, indirectly, benefited in my own career because of the unions.
He felt that in later years unions evolved into something not as good.
He told me a story about supervising a crew that was working outside on hospital grounds. He said that the job was on a tight deadline, with crews working around the clock.
He told me that they were working on a Sunday, when one light bulb went out. He said that most anyone could change the light bulb but were not permitted to do so.
He wanted to change it but said they had “watchdogs” stationed to report these types of things so his hands were tied.
It had to be a union electrician.
He said that his crew had to stop work until a union electrician was called, came out and screwed in the light bulb. His crew was getting paid two and one half times overtime for sitting around, doing absolutely nothing for 2 hours, waiting for the union electrician.
He had a crew of 10 men and estimated the cost of his crew sitting around at approximately $80 person, a cost of $800.
The electrician arrived and changed the bulb. He was there for 15 minutes and received two and one half times overtime, with a guarantee of 4 hours of show up pay. Since the union electrician made something like $33 per hour, he received over $300 for a simple task that anyone could do and it enraged my Dad, and was something that really stuck with him.
He was very bothered by the fact that it cost over $1,000 to change a light bulb.
My Dad was a forward thinker and said that the unions overall got very greedy, and indoctrinated a mindset in it’s members of being very singularly focused, which led to many union employees using the ever famous, “it’s not my job” line.
He went on say that he felt in the late 1970′s and 1980′s that many businesses had started to make great progress, enacting fairer policies and procedures and reviews to protect workers. He said that most people did not even realize that better working conditions were due, in large part, to the earlier efforts of union organizing. – even if that person was not a union member.
He said by the mid 1980′s, many employers were offering very good benefit packages to employees and had enacted their own impartial board of reviews.
Here’s the real interesting part. He felt that because of the progress made, that unions were not really necessary any longer because of what they had become ,AND he predicted, fairly accurately, what the future would hold.
He felt that many businesses would try to “bust” the unions” beginning the late 1990′s and early 2000′s and that it would continue for at least 10 years.
Then he said the balance of power would begin to shift to non union businesses and they would eventually begin reverting back to their old bygone days and start offering lower wages, erratic schedules and reduced benefit packages as the economy began to suffer, angering and worrying workers.
He accurately predicted that a minority democratic President would be elected and said that he felt that the economy would then be as bad, if not worse, as compared to when he was growing up.
He said that many large well known companies with a union force would go out of business, more unions would be busted up and that the economy would sink to an all time low with lots of poverty and suicides. He predicted that under a second term minority democratic President that unions would start to regroup and try to stage a big comeback because the vast majority of people would need someone in their corner because of their living conditions and were, “ripe for it”. He predicted lots of job losses and increased violence.
His final “prediction” was by this time we reached mid teens – 2014-2016 – that people would be so disillusioned, and the economy would be in such bad shape, that Republicans would be welcomed back in power.
Not too shabby for a man that gained all of his insights from life experiences and had no formal advanced education.
He died in the early 1990′s and I can’t help but hear his “predictions” in my head when I read about Hostess closing.
He’d probably say that the blame for Hostess closing up shop is shared by both Hostess and the unions. I don’t know if he would have predicted that a smaller union’s actions would have led to Hostess closing, and their ultimate demise, after 82 years.
Knowing him, had he survived to see all the bailouts, he probably would have thought that some of this was a move on Hostess’ part and that they should share in the blame.
With the focus in recent years on healthier living, I’m not shocked at the Hostess closing, and only mildly surprised at the circumstances.
Good job BCTGM! Now you will experience firsthand what it feels like to be in the unemployment line!