Monthly Archives: December 2012

Noooooo! Not my twinkies! Say it isn’t so! How can this be? My monthly allowance for cupcakes and twinkies alone should be able to financially prop up any major corporation! But alas, Hostess Brands, Inc. has fallen over $860 million in debt and now, thanks in part to Union greed,  Hostess is closing it’s doors and liquidating. Bye bye Ding Dongs…..bye bye HoHo’s. Good bye……sniff……….twinkies!!!!!!

How could Twinkie the Kid let this happen? He went with most of us to school as kids for crying out loud! He was there on rainy days when all we could do was sit and watch the rain fall. He was at the County Fair showing off in all his deep fried glory! And now… sniffle….no more. Mr. the Kid  has riden off into the sunset.

 

So how then did this happen? Well, high labor expenses and rising ingredient costs for one. But isn’t that the case with every food manufacture? In a recent blog I talked about the rising food costs that were being passed on to the consumer due to increases in labor and costs. So then, why Hostess? Why now?

The reason for it’s recent bankruptcy filing was blamed on low sales and high fixed costs. (at least according to Hostess). But I think a more plausible explantion for Hostess demise may be the on the recent failure to reach an agreement with the almighty unions regarding pensions and health care.

Good grief. Unions! I understand the principle of what they are and why they are here. But over and over again I see companies going bankrupt and closing their doors thanks to the Unions. Shouldn’t they be helping to create jobs rather than destroying them? Most of us don’t have the luxury of employers paying into a pension plan. Many employers, in fact have cut health care benefits entirely just to be able to meet payrolls. It is tough on employees but at least they have a job. In this economy I am not sure forcing a company to pay more money into pensions and health care is the right thing to do.

In the case of Hostess, just as they were coming out of bankruptcy, the Unions immediately began a walkout! Why?  More money of course. I’m not sure staging a protest to demand more money right after coming out of bankruptcy is the wisest choice. Hostess response was to immediately close three of it’s plants. But the Union was relentless, and soon enough, it became apparent that there was no longer a choice and Hostess began the winding down process of it’s business. CEO Gregory Rayburn, stated that even if the union relented and agreed to accept the 8 percent percent pay cut and nearly 20 percent hike in benefit costs, “[It’s] too late. We’re done.”

So what is the point of Unions? They only seem to cause trouble these days. The immediate response would be that they help the employee make more money and therefore obtain a higher living standard. Oh yeah?  Tell that to the nearly 18,500 hostess employees that are now looking for work. How’s that higher standard of living working out for you now?

Anybody remember the price increase in groceries right after the United Food and Commercial Workers stike at Vons and Albertsons. Thanks Unions!

What about the out of control teachers that are unable or unwilling to teach that I keep seeing in the news? Or obese gym coachs that can only sit on the sidelines unable to move. Can the school administration disciplinen them or fire them? NO! Thanks Unions!

Favorite TV show on hiatus, movie project cancelled because writers cannot write? Thanks Unions!

The price of consumer goods continues to increase because a file clerk at the loading dock is making over $120,000 per year! Thanks Unions!

It seems more and more often the general public is suffering at the hands of the giant, greedy unions. With the current economy, the Unions need to tone it down, not just a little, but a lot.

Unions have been around for a long time. And governments have always attempted to make Trade Unions illegal. In fact in the 18th century, attempting to start a union was punishable by execution!

The 18th century economist, Adam Smith, author of “The Wealth of Nations”, was very opposed to the idea of Unions. He felt that it should remain illegal to fix wages or prices by employees. He noted that there was a definite imbalance in the rights of workers in regards to owners, or “masters”, but Unionization was not the best, most appropriate way to go about balancing power.

Unions would often times result to violence when they did not get their way. Many riots would, and continue to explode during strikes. Many people have been hurt and even killed in these types of protest.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the basic premise of unions. Without them, we would still be working 100 + hours per week, no weekends and no vacations times, and there would be no “minimum wage” laws. So in that respect, I appreciate what they may have done. But I compare them to a Homeowners Association. You pay monthly to the Association, for some sort of “protection”, but the most they seem to accomplish is to tell you that you cannot plant a tree in your yard, or your grass is ¼ inch too high! Gee whiz….thanks a lot!

I also understand why union employees may feel so strongly in defense of their unions. After all, they tend to make triple the pay than similar, non-union, jobs. But at what cost? Ultimately, the price or goods and services are driven up by these outrageous salaries, which puts a bite into their own budgets. And their incomes will certainly take a hit during the forced strike or walkout. And, much like Hostess employees, they run the risk of a company shutdown and termination!  Welcome to the real world! Unemployment and more realistic, lower wages. Unless, of course, you are able to find another Union job. And most unions continue to charge their monthly fees, whether or not you are employed! Sounds a little mafia-like to me. Pay me or else!

It has been said;

Those who tell you of trade-unions bent on raising wages by moral suasion alone are like people who tell you of tigers that live on oranges.

–        Henry George, 1891

 

Love them or hate them, there is no denying that Unions tend to do more harm then good. And as far as the loss of my beloved twinkies, regardless of the reason , whether it is political or financial. Whether or not the Union’s are to blame or just simple economics, unless I get to continue satisfying my twinkie urges, then Unions, to me, are just plain evil and pointless! Unless, of course, you believe in vegetarian tigers.

 

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