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Old 11-24-2012, 08:20   #276
Bren
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Now I'll answer myself:

"But...but...you can't just quit your job and walk away, it's not that easy."

Why is it not that easy? Because you, as a worker, can only get a job based on what value you bring to the contract. If you aren't bringing the skills and experience that makes you valuble to an employer, that is your fault. If you think your sklills and experience are worth more than the market says they are worth, based on the supply and demand of those skills, that's your fault. The hard solution is to icnrease your value as an employee, usually through education or experience. The easy solution is, "form a union to control the labor supply, thereby making my skills artificially more scarce."
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:50   #277
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LET THE FREE MARKET SORT ITSELF OUT.
That's what's been happening. We just wish the unions (in this case) would realize that their actions are destroying the companies that their employees depend on for their livelihoods.

The loss of 18,500 jobs is a great human tragedy in any event. That's a lot of stress for a lot of people, and more so since most of those people are likely very low-skilled workers who will have trouble finding another job. I've been an unemployed person with the ability to find another job that would replace the wages I used to make, and it's incredibly stressful. I feel sorry for those people, but ultimately most of them are in that situation because of the choices they've made in their lives. When I found myself in that situation, I decided I would never allow it to happen again, so I had to go back to school.

We can't keep failing businesses open just to provide them with jobs. We can't afford to keep paying people to be unemployed.

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Why should the owners be the only one dealing the cards? Why should everything be in their favor?
What are you talking about? The "owners" of this company just lost their investment. Hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth, wiped out. The owners are getting shafted too. Everyone is. That's what bankruptcy does.

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If things were the was some on here would like, that would happen here. Those who control the money have the power
I hate to break it to you, but it has nothing to do with what anyone "would like." This is how the world works. Those who control the money have the power. How long do you think the US military would remain a viable force if they stopped getting paid?

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The smart and tallented would figure it out. I guess they would deserve to reap the bennifits of this because they are smart, right?
Yes. Of course the smart and talented (and lucky and hardworking) reap the benefits. How else could the universe work?

I do not understand how you managed to make it to adulthood without learning that the world isn't fair. Life's hard. Get a helmet. Stop whining and start doing.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:18   #278
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Why should the owners be the only one dealing the cards?
Because it is their money at risk.

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Why should everything be in their favor?
It isn't. You're free to leave.

But choosing not to leave but instead remaining and destroying someone else's property is despicable.

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Old 11-24-2012, 17:36   #279
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You guys keep saying they were free to leave if they weren't happy with their jobs or pay. That's what they did. All of them. So what's the problem?
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Old 11-24-2012, 17:48   #280
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You guys keep saying they were free to leave if they weren't happy with their jobs or pay. That's what they did. All of them. So what's the problem?
1) It really is a great tragedy in human terms. This will affect hundreds of thousands of people, and the struggles and stress of the workers and their families and the folks who depended on selling goods and services to these workers is something we should not ignore. I've been unemployed before, and it sucks a lot.

2) Not all of them made this decision. The actions of 5,000 workers resulted in the unemployment of almost 19,000 people (probably more, actually, if you count the SG&A personnel that are now jobless as well). That a small group of people held the rest of the company hostage is a travesty.

3) Most frustrating, to me, is that it was STUPID. Stupid on the part of the baker's union. It was contrary to their own best interests, yet they can't seem to understand this simple fact. If I had even a tiny bit of faith that they'll learn from this and behave differently next time, then I'd be a lot more ok with it--but you know and I know that they didn't and they won't. The union bosses didn't lose their jobs, after all. The bakery workers are (collectively) too dumb to realize that they're both pawns and replaceable. It's sad.

Fundamentally, I agree with you. The system worked. It did what it was supposed to do. However, it didn't have to go this way; there were probably less painful and less value-destructive ways to fix the situation. Yes, if you look at the last 20 years of the company's history, in hindsight there's plenty of blame to go around. However, in this case the ones who finally pushed the company over the cliff in the first place are the ones who will lose the most.
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Old 11-24-2012, 17:48   #281
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You guys keep saying they were free to leave if they weren't happy with their jobs or pay. That's what they did. All of them. So what's the problem?
1. They didn't quit, they forced the company to close

2. 1/3 of the employees killed it for everyone
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:55   #282
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This is where the union comes in - this is not a debatable theory or an opinion or something the unions deny; even the unions know they do 1 thing - 1 single function - they create an artificial labor shortage where there isn't a natural labor shortage, by controlling the supply of labor. The union controls the labor supply and creates this shortage to inflate wages above what they would be if everybody was free to contract as they choose.
So Bren, you being an attorney. I have a question. If I own company X and company Y is always giving me competition and that competition is driving prices (and profits) down so the two companies get together and agree to either reduce supply and/or agree on minimum pricing, it is illegal (anti-trust laws). Cartels and market manipulation are not legal in the USA. How do unions get to legally avoid anti-trust laws? It seems to me they are doing exactly what these laws were designed to prevent?
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:30   #283
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So Bren, you being an attorney. I have a question. If I own company X and company Y is always giving me competition and that competition is driving prices (and profits) down so the two companies get together and agree to either reduce supply and/or agree on minimum pricing, it is illegal (anti-trust laws). Cartels and market manipulation are not legal in the USA. How do unions get to legally avoid anti-trust laws? It seems to me they are doing exactly what these laws were designed to prevent?
After the anti-trust laws you are referring to were passed, like the Sherman Antitrust Act, prosecutors started prosecuting unions and members under them, since they are exactly like the kind of antitrust activity made illegal for the corporations. In fact, while it was aimed at socializing the market and restricting the capitalists, it was only effectively used against unions early on.

To "fix" that "problem" Congress exempted unions from the antitrust laws in the Clayton Act, the Norris-LaGuardia Act and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Unions and Antitrust: Governmental Hypocrisy

I hate them because they are communists, more than because they are criminals, but that is a good point too and part of what I mean when I say the unions can only exist because of socialism in the first place.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:17   #284
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After the anti-trust laws you are referring to were passed, like the Sherman Antitrust Act, prosecutors started prosecuting unions and members under them, since they are exactly like the kind of antitrust activity made illegal for the corporations. In fact, while it was aimed at socializing the market and restricting the capitalists, it was only effectively used against unions early on.

To "fix" that "problem" Congress exempted unions from the antitrust laws in the Clayton Act, the Norris-LaGuardia Act and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Unions and Antitrust: Governmental Hypocrisy

I hate them because they are communists, more than ebcause they are criminals, but that is agood point too and part of what I mean when I say the unions can only exist because of socialism in the first place.
Excellent post, Bren.

I don't know if our union members can wade through it. Do you have a version with pictures?

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Old 11-25-2012, 07:09   #285
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Thanks Bren. I learned something.

Maybe union members did too. They are basically doing what they accuse the "robber barons" of doing.


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Old 11-25-2012, 08:19   #286
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After the anti-trust laws you are referring to were passed, like the Sherman Antitrust Act, prosecutors started prosecuting unions and members under them, since they are exactly like the kind of antitrust activity made illegal for the corporations. In fact, while it was aimed at socializing the market and restricting the capitalists, it was only effectively used against unions early on.

To "fix" that "problem" Congress exempted unions from the antitrust laws in the Clayton Act, the Norris-LaGuardia Act and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Unions and Antitrust: Governmental Hypocrisy

I hate them because they are communists, more than because they are criminals, but that is a good point too and part of what I mean when I say the unions can only exist because of socialism in the first place.
Aren't double standards awesome? It's all fair game when it is the little guys being defended but against the law when the guys with the money do it. I'm sure the union guys see no issue with this.

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Old 11-25-2012, 09:31   #287
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I haven't read the entire thread, and don't care to, but I will say something about unions.

I've long been against them...until I went to work at a union employer where I had no choice. My initial intent was to be a silent member, but I soon found that the only protection against the company was the union.

The company routinely denied pay; the only way to get back was grievances through the union. The company denied safety; the only protection was the union. The company pushed employees to the point of fatigue and had no issues pushing them beyond; the only protections existed as contractual limits that restricted our work days to 18 hours, 26 hours, and 30 hours, respectively.

The positions were all safety-sensitive. They were also sensitive in other areas, too, but the nature of the work meant that despite doing a great deal of service for the government and working internationally, as well as oversight by government agencies, we still fell through the cracks.

The union was absolutely necessary to protect our jobs, to protect form unreasonable treatment by management, to protect our wages, our safety, and even our lives. Far from greedy, far from the public image of a union, the organization was crucial in maintaining some degree of protection for the workers.

I have worked inside the union, and I've worked in a lot of comparable non-union shops, and while I'm neither an expert on unions nor labor law, there's no doubt in my mind about the need for the union in the environment in which I worked.

The union did a great deal of policing among its own members. Professional standards committees covered that, addressing problems before they became company problems. Separate committees addressed housing, security, and a host of other needs. I've personally seen the company pull extremely outlandish attempts to get employees to do things that were unsafe and unwise, and have personally had my pay slashed or denied on a number of occasions. The sole protection, defense, and support on every occasion was the union. The union wasn't only a desirable support, but a critical need, and without any question an essential element to that working environment.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:05   #288
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I haven't read the entire thread, and don't care to, but I will say something about unions.

I've long been against them...until I went to work at a union employer where I had no choice. My initial intent was to be a silent member, but I soon found that the only protection against the company was the union.

The company routinely denied pay; the only way to get back was grievances through the union. The company denied safety; the only protection was the union. The company pushed employees to the point of fatigue and had no issues pushing them beyond; the only protections existed as contractual limits that restricted our work days to 18 hours, 26 hours, and 30 hours, respectively.

The positions were all safety-sensitive. They were also sensitive in other areas, too, but the nature of the work meant that despite doing a great deal of service for the government and working internationally, as well as oversight by government agencies, we still fell through the cracks.

The union was absolutely necessary to protect our jobs, to protect form unreasonable treatment by management, to protect our wages, our safety, and even our lives. Far from greedy, far from the public image of a union, the organization was crucial in maintaining some degree of protection for the workers.

I have worked inside the union, and I've worked in a lot of comparable non-union shops, and while I'm neither an expert on unions nor labor law, there's no doubt in my mind about the need for the union in the environment in which I worked.

The union did a great deal of policing among its own members. Professional standards committees covered that, addressing problems before they became company problems. Separate committees addressed housing, security, and a host of other needs. I've personally seen the company pull extremely outlandish attempts to get employees to do things that were unsafe and unwise, and have personally had my pay slashed or denied on a number of occasions. The sole protection, defense, and support on every occasion was the union. The union wasn't only a desirable support, but a critical need, and without any question an essential element to that working environment.
I'll go ahead and quote you just to piss off the union haters .
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:13   #289
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I haven't read the entire thread, and don't care to, but I will say something about unions.

I've long been against them...until I went to work at a union employer where I had no choice. My initial intent was to be a silent member, but I soon found that the only protection against the company was the union.

The company routinely denied pay; the only way to get back was grievances through the union. The company denied safety; the only protection was the union. The company pushed employees to the point of fatigue and had no issues pushing them beyond; the only protections existed as contractual limits that restricted our work days to 18 hours, 26 hours, and 30 hours, respectively.

The positions were all safety-sensitive. They were also sensitive in other areas, too, but the nature of the work meant that despite doing a great deal of service for the government and working internationally, as well as oversight by government agencies, we still fell through the cracks.

The union was absolutely necessary to protect our jobs, to protect form unreasonable treatment by management, to protect our wages, our safety, and even our lives. Far from greedy, far from the public image of a union, the organization was crucial in maintaining some degree of protection for the workers.

I have worked inside the union, and I've worked in a lot of comparable non-union shops, and while I'm neither an expert on unions nor labor law, there's no doubt in my mind about the need for the union in the environment in which I worked.

The union did a great deal of policing among its own members. Professional standards committees covered that, addressing problems before they became company problems. Separate committees addressed housing, security, and a host of other needs. I've personally seen the company pull extremely outlandish attempts to get employees to do things that were unsafe and unwise, and have personally had my pay slashed or denied on a number of occasions. The sole protection, defense, and support on every occasion was the union. The union wasn't only a desirable support, but a critical need, and without any question an essential element to that working environment.
Excellent post and right on the money!
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:19   #290
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The company routinely denied pay; the only way to get back was grievances through the union. The company denied safety; the only protection was the union. The company pushed employees to the point of fatigue and had no issues pushing them beyond; the only protections existed as contractual limits that restricted our work days to 18 hours, 26 hours, and 30 hours, respectively.

. . . .
Would you care to volunteer the name of this company?
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:29   #291
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1) It really is a great tragedy in human terms. This will affect hundreds of thousands of people, and the struggles and stress of the workers and their families and the folks who depended on selling goods and services to these workers is something we should not ignore. I've been unemployed before, and it sucks a lot.

2) Not all of them made this decision. The actions of 5,000 workers resulted in the unemployment of almost 19,000 people (probably more, actually, if you count the SG&A personnel that are now jobless as well). That a small group of people held the rest of the company hostage is a travesty.

3) Most frustrating, to me, is that it was STUPID. Stupid on the part of the baker's union. It was contrary to their own best interests, yet they can't seem to understand this simple fact. If I had even a tiny bit of faith that they'll learn from this and behave differently next time, then I'd be a lot more ok with it--but you know and I know that they didn't and they won't. The union bosses didn't lose their jobs, after all. The bakery workers are (collectively) too dumb to realize that they're both pawns and replaceable. It's sad.

Fundamentally, I agree with you. The system worked. It did what it was supposed to do. However, it didn't have to go this way; there were probably less painful and less value-destructive ways to fix the situation. Yes, if you look at the last 20 years of the company's history, in hindsight there's plenty of blame to go around. However, in this case the ones who finally pushed the company over the cliff in the first place are the ones who will lose the most.
Wages are just one of many costs of doing business. If Exxon Mobil would have simply agreed to cut fuel costs 30%, Freightliner would have simply agreed to cut prices of trucks 30%, the electric company would have agreed to a 30% reduction of their bills, etc... to accommodate the slowing sales of their outdated products, perhaps Hostess would still be in business. Since that's not going to happen, the blame is put on the employees for not accepting those same cuts. Hostess was dying. If anyone is to blame, it's the customers for not buying products they no longer want. Much less at a 30% increase in price. Their products became boring. Who's job is it to produce a marketable product, the batter mixer or the CEO? I don't think the batter mixer has any say in what he's allowed to produce. Frito Lay is union, management keeps it interesting and business is good.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:36   #292
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The company routinely denied pay; the only way to get back was grievances through the union. The company denied safety; the only protection was the union. The company pushed employees to the point of fatigue and had no issues pushing them beyond; the only protections existed as contractual limits that restricted our work days to 18 hours, 26 hours, and 30 hours, respectively.
So let me wrap my head around this. They refused to pay you on a regular basis, they denied you necessary safety equipment, and forced you to work shifts up to 30 hours consecutively?

I wouldn't work for a place like that if they were the last available job on earth, nor would anyone else. I love how you union guys come up with the most ridiculous scenarios that couldn't possibly be true and actually expect anyone to believe them.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:29   #293
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So let me wrap my head around this. They refused to pay you on a regular basis, they denied you necessary safety equipment, and forced you to work shifts up to 30 hours consecutively?

I wouldn't work for a place like that if they were the last available job on earth, nor would anyone else. I love how you union guys come up with the most ridiculous scenarios that couldn't possibly be true and actually expect anyone to believe them.
Yep - they are never able to explain why they were willing to do the job under those conditions. They make it sound like slavery and ignore that they could have walked away.

He'll probably respond with "and do what? work at McDonald's?" Not even realizing that says the employer met the conditions he demanded to do the work, invalidating his own argument.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:42   #294
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Wages are just one of many costs of doing business.
Of course.

And like any other cost of doing business, companies should be continuously and aggressively looking for ways to minimize the cost.


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If Exxon Mobil would have simply agreed to cut fuel costs 30%, Freightliner would have simply agreed to cut prices of trucks 30%, the electric company would have agreed to a 30% reduction of their bills, etc... to accommodate the slowing sales of their outdated products, perhaps Hostess would still be in business.
The difference is, if Hostess won't pay Exxon what they ask for refined oil products, Exxon can turn around and sell them to the next guy.

If Hostess won't pay the "baker" in a Hostess factory their asking wage... can that "baker" take his labor somewhere else and sell it for the rate he is demanding? Somehow I doubt it, given what they were reported to be making and the skill level involved in that job.

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Since that's not going to happen, the blame is put on the employees for not accepting those same cuts. Hostess was dying.
Of course Hostess was dying. It's been circling the drain for a long time and there's been plenty of blame to go around.

However, the employees pushed this company over the cliff. You literally could not make up a more cut-and-dried example. There's plenty of blame to go around, but the killing blow was delivered by the strike and the ending of normal operations. The company said "if we can't sell Twinkies we don't have enough cash for even normal operations, so please come back to work or we'll have to fold" and the unions stayed on strike.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:54   #295
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Okay, a lot of you are very pro Free Market. Well, it's a free market, Union or not. Don't buy Union products. Don't hire Union. Don't open a business in a Union territory. If a Union comes, shut down. Capitolisim and Free Markets work both ways, wheather you are the worker or the employee, or even the customer. LET THE FREE MARKET SORT ITSELF OUT. Why should the owners be the only one dealing the cards? Why should everything be in their favor?

Like I said, let the free market settle itself out. It just did with Hostess.
Agreed.

The owners of Hostess could not produce their product at a price that would give them a ROI they wanted so they stopped and closed.

Someone will fill that gap in the market. The company that does will need to hire people to produce it. Given the product getting to market is time sensitive it might even be made in North America so those employees that lost their jobs can try and get on with the new place but it will reset the value for their skills.

If the work you will perform for me is worth $10 an hour (or that is what the market says it will cost me for a qualified employee with what skills I need) the fact you made $20 an hour at your last job does not matter at all to me. If Hostess was offering $15 then you net lose. If Hostess was offering you $8 an hour you net gain. Market is working as it should.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:49   #296
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Agreed.
Then you have a very poor understanding of a free market or the government intervention that makes unions possible.

Hostess uses mainly unskilled labor - are you telling me that you believe, in this economy, they couldn't find people who would work for the wage and benefits the union workers were getting ebfore the strike? You don't believe that and neither does anybody else. If the union was not able to prevent them from doing that, with either law or force, the union would cease to exist.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:03   #297
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Then you have a very poor understanding of a free market or the government intervention that makes unions possible.
Yes it is not completely free. There are plenty of laws, regulations, etc. but all involved are free to end the arrangement if they want. The owners / management are free to close down and the laborers are free to not work. If they can't find an arrangement they both feel benefits them they are free to walk away.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:05   #298
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The owners / management are free to close down and the laborers are free to not work.
You seriously think the only option that owners should have is to close their doors? What about the freedom to fire the current laborers and find new ones?
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:21   #299
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You seriously think the only option that owners should have is to close their doors? What about the freedom to fire the current laborers and find new ones?
The company is prohibited to hire replacement workers? These replacement workers can be permanent. If the striking employees want to come back to work hostess does not have to accept them. Not sure how that differs from firing them. If they are not working and you are not paying them sounds like they don't have a job.

I was not aware in the Hostess example it was deemed the company had committed Unfair Labor Practices so there is nothing to bar them from hiring replacement workers that I know of.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:27   #300
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The company is prohibited to hire replacement workers?
The company can't get replacement workers past the union picket line.

The Teamsters couldn't get to work when they had the power of a union behind them--they weren't on strike, just the bakers were, yet the bakers stopped the Teamsters from going to work.
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Nov 11, 2013 at 11:42