In school I read The Jungle. This was an awesome, eye-opening book. If you haven’t read it I suggest you get it and read it over the holidays.
This book showed me why unions exist. To battle the atrocities of what a big, abusive company did to employees. From wages to working condition, unions swoop in to solve problems.
Unions had a very important purpose. But many have questioned whether that purpose is now in the past, and ask if unions have grown too abusive?
I know a guy who didn’t join the union at the U.S. Post Office. He left work and the union boss drove after him, harassing and threatening him like a crazy man.
What the heck is that??
I went to school with a guy who was a prison guard in Denver. He said the union would protect other guards who came to work drunk or high. They would not ever fear losing their jobs, because the union was there to save them.
That the heck is that??
And today we read that Hostess is saying, because of failed negotiations with multiple unions, they will pull the plug, and 18,500 people will lose their jobs.
My guess: Another company will buy all of the assets of Hostess (patents, trademarks, factories, etc.) and continue production, and hire a lot of people back… but there will be people hurt because two groups (Hostess management and the multiple unions involved) could not come to an agreement.
It sounds like Hostess is saying “Look, we’re hurt. We’re wounded. We’re not as financially healthy as you think we are. We just can’t pay the wages you are demanding.”
And the union is likely saying “Get over yourself. We know you are rich and wealthy. We want “fair” pay! Our union members work really hard for this stuff!”
And Hostess probably says “Competition has taken market share and eaten into our profits. The cost of goods has gone up. We simply don’t have the money to cover what you are demanding.“
And the union says “We don’t care what you say, and we aren’t willing to work things out. It’s all or nothing.“
And Hostess must have to say “Well, there is nothing there to take from. We’re done. We have no choice.“
Who loses? The people. What about the people who *had* pensions. If Hostess closes, will anyone who acquires them continue or honor those pensions? If not, did the unions just make a whole lot of retired people lose everything?
We don’t need another 18,500 people on the streets looking for work.
Unions have got to figure out how to stop bullying companies (and members and non-members). It seems like right now they act like the spoiled kid who demands more than his parents can give him. Maybe instead of playing the entitled kid role, the union should play a partner role with the company.
But then again, is it the obligation of the company to share equal footing with unions, who don’t seem to have the long-term, sustainable health of the company in their interest?
A sick company that pays higher-than-fair wages is not sustainable.
This is a lose-lose-lose situation, and I think you can tell where I place the blame.