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Old 11-18-2012, 15:47   #1
JW1178
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Is it always the Union's fault when a Union company goes under?

GM, Chrysler, and now Hostess going under, and everyone is pointing their fingers at the Union. They were Union for a long time and thrived. Any proof it was the Unions as the main cause? Perhaps it was poor products? I think that had a huge part of it.
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Old 11-18-2012, 15:51   #2
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Combo of both I would guess. They are so inter related (product & union) that it would be hard to place blame exactly in most cases.

With Hostess I think the union was that major reason for the closing. It seems they drew a line in the sand and lost. Too bad it had to occur right before the holidays.
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Old 11-18-2012, 15:53   #3
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Originally Posted by JW1178 View Post
GM, Chrysler, and now Hostess going under, and everyone is pointing their fingers at the Union. They were Union for a long time and thrived. Any proof it was the Unions as the main cause? Perhaps it was poor products? I think that had a huge part of it.
Ridiculous wages accompanied by outrageous pensions along with subpar products causing diminishing profits. The wages and pensions were union caused issues, the rest falls on the shoulders of the companies.

I wonder if the government will bail out Hostess too. After all, the world does need wonderbread and twinkies.
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Old 11-18-2012, 15:54   #4
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One thing to remember is that GM, Chrysler and Ford all has the same Union but different management teams.

GM and Chrysler went broke and took a bailout but Ford didn't.

Today GM and Chrysler are doing fine and still have the same Union, Union Leadership and Union Members but an entirely new management team.

So, how's it the Union's fault that GM and Chrysler went broke?

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Posted with TapTalk from my ObamaPhone as I drive down the road in my Union built 2010 Dodge Ram QuadCab w/ a Hemi while eating. Twinkie.
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Old 11-18-2012, 15:55   #5
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Ridiculous wages accompanied by outrageous pensions along with subpar products causing diminishing profits. The wages and pensions were union caused issues, the rest falls on the shoulders of the companies.

I wonder if the government will bail out Hostess too. After all, the world does need wonderbread and twinkies.
the election is over, hostess wont get the mostess....
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Old 11-18-2012, 15:58   #6
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As for the Hostess predicament the company was ALREADY in bankruptcy the bakers union AFTER being told (advised) by the teamsters that the company WAS NOT bluffing still decided to drive the bus off the cliff. Hopefully the union leadership NEVER holds a position of power EVER. As Red Forman says "Dumasses"
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:00   #7
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Didn't Chrysler get a bailout in the 80s too?
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:03   #8
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GM, Chrysler, and now Hostess going under, and everyone is pointing their fingers at the Union. They were Union for a long time and thrived. Any proof it was the Unions as the main cause?
Yes. There's plenty of "proof."

The legacy costs of health care and pension benefits are crippling. Now, they're not just "the union's" fault. Someone in management agreed to them, of course, once upon a time.

Fundamentally (in the auto industry), what happened was this:

The American auto industry was thriving during a time of extreme prosperity for the United States. It was just after WWII. Europe had been bombed flat. So had Japan. China was going through a brutal, bloody civil war. So was Korea. Russia was busy being Soviet, with closed markets and terrible products. America was in many ways the only game in town when it came to producing manufactured goods.

In short, there was a time when American workers could demand a middle-class wage for doing essentially unskilled work. The conditions that made this possible were an accident of history, but for some reason everyone expected this happy state of affairs to last forever.

Unions demanded that these wages remain set in stone, with lifetime benefits, forever. Management agreed to this state of affairs back in the 60's, but by the 90's and 2000's the world had changed. Health care costs were much, much higher than anyone in the 60's could have anticipated. Other workers, both in the US and in other countries, were willing to do the same work for lower wages. Crippling legacy costs were reducing the competitiveness of American made products at precisely the same time that Japanese and Korean products were becoming competitive.

The thing the UAW is guilty of is refusing to change. The unions refuse to accept the idea that a factory worker in an automotive plant simply isn't worth very much money. It's a largely unskilled job. They can't demand the kinds of wages they could before, but the unions don't care. They insist on keeping their wages and benefits, and they throw money at politicians to take their side. Nothing will change until they accept the new reality. Building cars on an assembly line is worth what it's worth, and no more.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:14   #9
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Glad to see some people have some sense.

It seems whenever a company prospers, credit is given the the "brilliant" managers and the owners "great decision making" and justification for big salaries. When the company does poorly, blame is pointed to the workers.

The key of middle management is to know how to take credit for the good a d pass blame to someone else. Kind of like the POTUS.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:15   #10
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All of this Union bashing.. . . . . Sheeeeeeesh.


I do NOT agree with everything that my local does, but, if it weren't for the Union, my company would have a field day with the employees.
(I work for a company that is a "Closed Shop". I either join the Union, or I can't keep my job. Now, with that said, since I have over 35 years with the company, I can now resign from the Union, but, I still pay 'dues' to either a 'non-profit' or 'church'. The Union, still has to represent me.)


My company states, "Management reserves the right to manage the company."

What they NEVER say, is, "We reserve the right to manage the company, properly."


Unions aren't all bad. I bust my hump every day.
I get a fair wage for a good day's work. I earn my pay, every day.
I get a decent amount of vacation every year. Good sick leave. Good medical.

Granted, there are some dead-beat employees that work harder at NOT working, than they do, working, and ask the Union to protect them.
They can all kiss a certain part of my anatomy.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:22   #11
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Originally Posted by devildog2067 View Post
Yes. There's plenty of "proof."

The legacy costs of health care and pension benefits are crippling. Now, they're not just "the union's" fault. Someone in management agreed to them, of course, once upon a time.

Fundamentally (in the auto industry), what happened was this:

The American auto industry was thriving during a time of extreme prosperity for the United States. It was just after WWII. Europe had been bombed flat. So had Japan. China was going through a brutal, bloody civil war. So was Korea. Russia was busy being Soviet, with closed markets and terrible products. America was in many ways the only game in town when it came to producing manufactured goods.

In short, there was a time when American workers could demand a middle-class wage for doing essentially unskilled work. The conditions that made this possible were an accident of history, but for some reason everyone expected this happy state of affairs to last forever.

Unions demanded that these wages remain set in stone, with lifetime benefits, forever. Management agreed to this state of affairs back in the 60's, but by the 90's and 2000's the world had changed. Health care costs were much, much higher than anyone in the 60's could have anticipated. Other workers, both in the US and in other countries, were willing to do the same work for lower wages. Crippling legacy costs were reducing the competitiveness of American made products at precisely the same time that Japanese and Korean products were becoming competitive.

The thing the UAW is guilty of is refusing to change. The unions refuse to accept the idea that a factory worker in an automotive plant simply isn't worth very much money. It's a largely unskilled job. They can't demand the kinds of wages they could before, but the unions don't care. They insist on keeping their wages and benefits, and they throw money at politicians to take their side. Nothing will change until they accept the new reality. Building cars on an assembly line is worth what it's worth, and no more.
Another impressive post.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:23   #12
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It seems whenever a company prospers, credit is given the the "brilliant" managers and the owners "great decision making" and justification for big salaries. When the company does poorly, blame is pointed to the workers.
The fact is, in most cases and with most companies, "workers" (by which I assume you mean low-level workers, but let me assure you that managers also "work" quite a bit) don't individually create an organization's success. They do so collectively. You can't point to an individual Twinkie baker and say "that guy did such a good job, that's why Hostess increased share 3 points this year."

You can do so when it comes to the people who make decisions about strategy or investment.

It's the same as the military; usually the officers get credit (and the blame) and that's as it should be. They can't do it alone, but at the same time they are the ones who make the decisions as to how things should happen and are responsible when things go wrong even if it's not their fault.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:26   #13
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SNIP
I may differ on some details, but this is about the size of it.

Unions aren't bad per se. They just tend to do stupid things. They resist change, and they don't take into account the need for the employer to succeed.

In general comments and attitudes about unions It is both funny and irritating to see people cast blame on unions, but never cast blame on management for making stupid business decisions.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:30   #14
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In regards to the Hostess Bankruptcy case I find this interesting"

It gets into the case of sugar industry protection tariffs.

Did Congress Kill the Twinky?

---

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Originally Posted by RicoGordo View Post
Unions aren't bad per se. They just tend to do stupid things. They resist change, and they don't take into account the need for the employer to succeed.

In general comments and attitudes about unions It is both funny and irritating to see people cast blame on unions, but never cast blame on management for making stupid business decisions.
I once worked to a company the went from making 10 million a year to a 17 million dollar loss. No shop level employee is capable of causing that level of financial carnage.

But the average employee felt the pain is the form of no raises/bonuses/ gain share for over 6 years.

This all at a time of a booming economy.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:37   #15
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now Hostess going under, and everyone is pointing their fingers at the Union. They were Union for a long time and thrived. Any proof it was the Unions as the main cause? Perhaps it was poor products?

Don't you dare blame the Hostess products!

It's easy for management to blame the unions. Unions are the "easy" targets. A unionized Hostess has been around for how long? 50-years?

Maybe it's the market that has changed? The health kick since the 1970s, the current Blomberg initiatives (although it does not involve Hostess directly, I'm sure it influenced many people's concepts of eating more healthy).

As far as I know, it's management's job in any company to anticipate present and future market demands and product changes, etc...
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:41   #16
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Originally Posted by devildog2067 View Post
Yes. There's plenty of "proof."

The legacy costs of health care and pension benefits are crippling. Now, they're not just "the union's" fault. Someone in management agreed to them, of course, once upon a time.

Fundamentally (in the auto industry), what happened was this:

The American auto industry was thriving during a time of extreme prosperity for the United States. It was just after WWII. Europe had been bombed flat. So had Japan. China was going through a brutal, bloody civil war. So was Korea. Russia was busy being Soviet, with closed markets and terrible products. America was in many ways the only game in town when it came to producing manufactured goods.

In short, there was a time when American workers could demand a middle-class wage for doing essentially unskilled work. The conditions that made this possible were an accident of history, but for some reason everyone expected this happy state of affairs to last forever.

Unions demanded that these wages remain set in stone, with lifetime benefits, forever. Management agreed to this state of affairs back in the 60's, but by the 90's and 2000's the world had changed. Health care costs were much, much higher than anyone in the 60's could have anticipated. Other workers, both in the US and in other countries, were willing to do the same work for lower wages. Crippling legacy costs were reducing the competitiveness of American made products at precisely the same time that Japanese and Korean products were becoming competitive.

The thing the UAW is guilty of is refusing to change. The unions refuse to accept the idea that a factory worker in an automotive plant simply isn't worth very much money. It's a largely unskilled job. They can't demand the kinds of wages they could before, but the unions don't care. They insist on keeping their wages and benefits, and they throw money at politicians to take their side. Nothing will change until they accept the new reality. Building cars on an assembly line is worth what it's worth, and no more.
Best description I've heard on this subject.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:42   #17
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To be fair companies agree to the union demands to avoid costly strikes. It's almost extortion. Almost.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:43   #18
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It's easy for management to blame the unions. Unions are the "easy" targets.
Generally, it's quite true that there's plenty of blame to go around.

In this particular case, you literally could not make up a better example of it being the union's fault (not even "the" union--one specific union).

Quote:
A unionized Hostess has been around for how long? 50-years?
The world is different than it was 50 years ago.

Quote:
Maybe it's the market that has changed?
Sure, some--but they still managed to sell $2.5B worth of snack cakes last year. The market isn't growing, but it's not going away either.

Quote:
As far as I know, it's management's job in any company to anticipate present and future market demands and product changes, etc...
You keep talking about "management" as though it's one entity.

Hostess has gone through a number of CEOs since the bankruptcy. The most recent one hasn't even been in office a year. Management has turned over quite a bit.

So when the current CEO goes to the union and says, "hey guys, I'm not taking a salary this year, and in order to keep the doors open we're going to have to ask you to make some more sacrifices as well" the union says... what? "The other guy failed to do his job 10 years ago, so screw you"?
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:51   #19
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It's part management fault, part union, and part legislative.

If management can't replace union labor at will, their hands are tied. Everything DD said about costs of doing union business thruout the years is correct.

A few brilliant minds did see health care costs rising - mostly tied to keeping an aging population well, but they were shouted down by the same type of folks that decry the reality of global warming.
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Old 11-18-2012, 16:54   #20
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Maybe it's the market that has changed? The health kick since the 1970s, the current Blomberg initiatives (although it does not involve Hostess directly, I'm sure it influenced many people's concepts of eating more healthy).

As far as I know, it's management's job in any company to anticipate present and future market demands and product changes, etc...
I vote for this. The market changed and Hostess didn't. I can't remember the last time I had a Hostess product.
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Old 11-18-2012, 17:17   #21
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I vote for this. The market changed and Hostess didn't. I can't remember the last time I had a Hostess product.
They sold 36 million packets of crap last year.

I wonder what their sales figures are for 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002?
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Old 11-18-2012, 17:19   #22
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could not get the quote function to work

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Old 11-18-2012, 17:22   #23
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I vote for this. The market changed and Hostess didn't. I can't remember the last time I had a Hostess product.
As we've learned quite a few times, you are not representative of America.

The snack cake market isn't growing much, but it isn't shrinking either. Hostess has had over $2B in sales every year since 2000. That's a lot of Twinkies.
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Old 11-18-2012, 17:30   #24
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Even when a business says they're going out of business due to poor sales, it doesn't mean they're not making a profit/bleeding money. It could simply mean they're not making the profit margin they want (and expect to in the future, etc...). Is this the case here? IDK.
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Old 11-18-2012, 17:47   #25
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No. Hostess was bleeding money, to the tune of several hundred million dollars per year.

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