Union Bosses Are Ding Dongs
Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies, WonderBread and more, will liquidate its operations as a result of the union strike that has plagued the company for the last several weeks. Hostess was already in bankruptcy, so it was clear from the start that the company did not have the financial resources to weather an extended strike. Of course, the union believed it would be able to bully their way to a different outcome, as The Brenner Brief reported on Nov. 13.
Today, Hostess updated their site – hostessstrike.info – to explain that they were liquidating the company, and would be attempting to preserve the brands and property for their greatest value.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) in September rejected a last, best and final offer from Hostess Brands designed to lower costs so that the Company could attract new financing and emerge from Chapter 11. Hostess Brands then received Court authority on Oct. 3 to unilaterally impose changes to the BCTGM’s collective bargaining agreements.
The union even knew that the court had permitted Hostess to implement the changes; yet, the union fought back through crippling operations at the Hostess plants. Hostess explains that timeline from this past week that led to the decision to liquidate:
On Nov. 12, Hostess Brands permanently closed three plants as a result of the work stoppage. On Nov. 14, the Company announced it would be forced to liquidate if sufficient employees did not return to work to restore normal operations by 5 p.m., EST p.m., Nov. 15. The Company determined on the night of Nov. 15 that an insufficient number of employees had returned to work to enable the restoration of normal operations.
Union bosses are “ding dongs” if they think that Hostess Brands can continue to function in bankruptcy without cutting costs. Hostess restated in its press release today:
Hostess Brands is unprofitable under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs. The offer to the BCTGM included wage, benefit and work rule concessions but also gave Hostess Brands’ 12 unions a 25 percent ownership stake in the company, representation on its Board of Directors and $100 million in reorganized Hostess Brands’ debt.
Through the unions not returning its workers to the plants by 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, there are nearly 18,500 employees who will be laid off in an economy where many of them will be unable to find new jobs. As Hostess explained:
The wind down means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.
On another site, hostessbrands.info, Hostess explains what its laid off employees should do following the layoffs:
Most employees who lose their jobs should be eligible for government-provided unemployment benefits.
Yes, the union would rather have nearly 18,500 people on unemployment for an extended period of time than to have jobs.
— ToryBoston (@concreteczar) November 16, 2012
Interesting question, and we have to wonder how the math will work out. Perhaps some of the employees will receive more on unemployment than the small cuts they were asked to take, but then what happens to their retirement and pensions, health benefits and other perks that come from working for a large corporation? Certainly, those benefits will be gone, as well. So much for doing what is best for the “communal” benefit.
To the Teamsters’ credit, they did settle with Hostess Brands.
The problem that has led to the shutdown of the entire company is because of the BCTGM. It is quite clear that the ding dong union bosses do not care about the average employee at Hostess Brands, whom the union is supposed to represent in earnest:
Union bosses who killed Hostess:The secretary treasurer — $196, 627 while the president makes $210,672.
— Charles Sykes (@SykesCharlie) November 16, 2012
When the unions play the game of “chicken” with a corporation that is on its last leg, the union should be prepared to lose. Companies are not money trees, and there is an old saying that you “can’t suck blood out of a turnip.” It certainly would be better for the people to have gainful employment than to be laid off and on unemployment, wouldn’t it? One has to question the ultimate motives of the union bosses who were fully aware that Hostess Brands would shut down if they did not work with them on a deal; yet, they allowed the shutdown to happen due to their own actions. No one is to blame except the union bosses.
If you’re not quite convinced yet that this was the fault of the union bosses, and not even the employees themselves, Hostess Brands released this statement on Wednesday:
Some of our employees who are on strike have expressed the desire to come back to work, but they have also expressed concern about the $140.00 daily fine the Bakers Union has threatened to impose on employees who cross a picket line. The employees are being misinformed that the fine will be taken out of their paychecks. We want to be clear: Hostess Brands does not provide a payroll deduction for any fine a union may decide to impose on our employees.
Not only does the union not care about its employees, but it lies to achieve its intended result. Who is it who is greedy again?
Ding Dongs may be dead as a company, but the ding dongs who run the unions are most certainly alive and well.
NOTE: At the time of posting, we could not access bctgm.org to view a statement from the union. There is an error message: “509: Bandwidth Limit Exceeded.”