Hostess Strike
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  1. #1
    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Default Hostess Strike

    Hostess has announced it is liquidating today after stating the would do so if the striking baker's union did not return to work yesterday. Yesterday came and went and now Hostess will be closing and 18,000 people will be out of jobs.

    Here is an article summarazing the story:
    Hostess Brands closing for good due to bakers strike - Nov. 16, 2012

    The Teamsters put out a statement, criticizing the Baker's union for their choices yesterday:

    Teamsters: Bakery Workers Should Hold Secret Ballot Vote at Hostess | International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)

    Unannounced Strike Has Put Thousands of Jobs in Jeopardy

    (WASHINGTON) ? Today, the Teamsters Union announced its recommendation to the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) that a vote of its Hostess members by secret ballot should be held to determine if the workers want to continue their strike of the company and force it into liquidation.

    On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Hostess Brands indicated that if it couldn?t resume normal operations by 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 15 that it would have to begin the liquidation process. Teamster Hostess members and all Hostess employees should know this is not an empty threat or a negotiating tactic, but the certain outcome if members of the BCTGM continue to strike. This is based on conversations with our financial experts, who, because the Teamsters were involved in the legal process, had access to financial information about the company.

    As stated previously, Teamster Hostess members have been frustrated by numerous missteps by a variety of Hostess management teams, but the union has tried to engage constructively to find a solution to preserve jobs. That comprehensive engagement has spanned 18 months.

    The Teamsters chose to challenge the company?s path of a worker-only solution, engage constructively so other constituents would be sacrificing and require management changes and oversight so that the same missteps would not be repeated.

    In fact, when Hostess attempted to throw out its collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters in court, the Teamsters fought back and won, ensuring that Hostess could not unilaterally make changes to working conditions during the several months? long legal process that recently ended. Teamster Hostess members were allowed to decide their fate by voting on the final offer conducted by a secret mail ballot. More than two-thirds of Hostess Teamsters members voted with 53 percent voting to approve the final offer.

    The BCTGM chose a different path, as is their prerogative, to not substantively look for a solution or engage in the process. BCTGM members were told there were better solutions than the final offer, although Judge Drain stated in his decision in bankruptcy court that no such solutions exist. Without complete information, BCTGM members voted by voice votes in union halls. The BCTGM reported that over 90 percent rejected the final offer and three of its units ratified the final offer.

    On Friday, Nov. 9, the BCTGM began to strike at some Hostess production facilities without notice to the Teamsters despite assurances they would not proceed with job actions without contacting the Teamsters Union. This unannounced action put Teamster members in the difficult position of facing picket lines without knowing their right to honor such a line without being disciplined.

    As is our longstanding tradition, Teamster members by and large are honoring Bakery Worker picket lines when encountered and complying with their contractual obligations when not encountering picket lines. The BCTGM leaders are putting Teamster members in a horrible position ? asking them to support a strike that will put them out of a job when they haven?t even asked all their members to go on strike.

    That strike is now on the verge of forcing the company to liquidate ? it is difficult for Teamster members to believe that is what the BCTGM Hostess members ultimately wanted to accomplish when they went out on strike. We may never know unless the BCTGM members, based on the facts they know today, get to determine their fate in a secret ballot vote. Teamster members would understand that the will of the BCTGM Hostess membership was truly heard if that was the case.

    Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit International Brotherhood of Teamsters | International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and ?like? us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
    I snooped on the teamsters facebook page and found a couple of people voicing their opinions that the Baker's union was not in the wrong because the corporations demise was ultimately do to corporate greed and people from the top taking more than their fair share at the employees expenses.

    Here are a couple of quotes from people on that facebook page. Remember these are just quotes from regular people so i can't confirm the accuracy:

    The Hostess problem in a nutshell.
    The upper management gave themselves a 30-85% raise with the CEO getting a 300% raise 1 month before filing for bankruptcy. They stopped paying into our pension in July 2011. Now $3 per hour comes out of OUR wages to go to OUR pension. When the company stopped paying into the pension, they did NOT return that $3 to OUR wages. Which means they have STOLEN over $7000 from each employee to date from pension contributions that we voted to come from our pay. That's alot of money any way you look at it. I pay $35 each week for health insurance right now. As of Nov. 18th that will jump to $90 per week for family coverage. The company told us a 17% increase for insurance. Is that 17%???? NO. And the insurance is worst then the insurance we had already. The company has taken from the workers over the last 8 years and has done NOTHING with the money but put it in their pockets. They promised after the last concessions that they would invest that money into the plants and the vehicles. Yet they did neither. They put the money into raises for themselves, hiring more management then the company needs and blowing in about every way possible. Just research the company on the internet and you will see it all for yourself. If you look for the truth, you will find it.
    ....atleast ceos aren't hungry.....employees have been giving and giving for years....yet still hostess blames workers and thier wages instesd of blaming mngment for crazy salaries that no one cares to talk about
    hate it for the brothers i use to work with that are loosing jobs , but glad to see there is still a union ( BCTGM) that will stand up to cooperate greed ..... unlike the teamsters leaders at ibt after the letter they put out to its members........
    Teamsters need to back their union brothers at Hostess BCTGM insted of crossing our picket line what a shame
    What do you think? Do you think that the Baker's union was irresponsible in their actions, jeapordizing thousands of jobs for people in and outside of their own union? Or do you think they did what needed to be done, as a fight against corporate greed and poor administrative practices?

  2. #2
    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    For Balance,

    Here is a statement put out by the Baker's Union (BCTGM) yesterday

    I took the text from the google cache version of the page because the real page is having difficulty being pulled up. It works but its extremely slow

    http://bctgm.org/2012/11/hostess-in-...ed-management/

    Hostess in Current Condition Because of Failed Management

    Posted by BCTGM - November 15, 2012 - Hostess Bankruptcy, Hostess Strike

    The following statement was issued by BCTGM International Union President Frank Hurt in response to claims by Hostess Brands that it would begin liquidation should union members not end the strike and return immediately to production facilities:

    ?The crisis facing Hostess Brands is the result of nearly a decade of financial and operational mismanagement that resulted in two bankruptcies, mountains of debt, declining sales and lost market share. The Wall Street investors who took over the company after the last bankruptcy attempted to resolve the mess by attacking the company?s most valuable asset ? its workers.

    ?They sought to force the workers, who had already taken significant wage and benefit cuts, to absorb even greater cuts including the loss of their pension contributions. I have said consistently throughout this process that the BCTGM is a highly democratic organization and that our Hostess members themselves would determine their future. By an overwhelming majority, 92 percent, these workers rejected the company?s outrageous proposal, fully aware of the potential consequences.

    ?Our members know that the plans all along of the Wall Street investors currently in control of this company did not include the operation of Hostess Brands any longer than it takes to sell the company in whole ? or in part ? in a way that will maximize the profits of these vulture capitalists regardless of the impact on the workforce.

    ?The wholesale bread and cake baking business is unique. The most successful and profitable wholesale baking companies share common attributes, most notably being executive leadership with extensive background in the business and a skilled and dedicated workforce. Hostess Brands and its predecessor companies have had the latter for decades.

    ?Unfortunately however, for the past eight years management of the company has been in the hands of Wall Street investors, ?restructuring experts?, third-tier managers from other non-baking food companies and currently a ?liquidation specialist?. Six CEO?s in eight years, none of whom with any bread and cake baking industry experience, was the prescription for failure.

    ?Despite Greg Rayburn?s insulting and disingenuous statements of the last several months, the truth is that Hostess workers and their Union have absolutely no responsibility for the failure of this company. That responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the company?s decision makers.

    ?I am sure that our members would be agreeable to return to work as soon as the company rescinds the implementation of the horrendous wage and benefit reductions, including pension, and the restoration of the cuts that have already taken place.?

    Background

    A total of 24 Hostess production facilities are on strike or honoring the strike with picket lines established by striking Hostess workers at other BCTGM-represented facilities. Additionally, BCTGM members at one transport facility also are on strike. Company claims that union members are crossing picket lines and maintaining production at striking plants are vastly untrue.

    Over the past 15 months, Hostess workers have seen the company unilaterally end contractually-obligated payments to their pension plan. These workers, many of whom have worked at Hostess and its predecessor companies for decades, struck in response to the company?s unilateral imposition of an unacceptable contract that was rejected by 92 percent of the union?s Hostess members in September.

    While the company was demanding major concessions from union workers (wage and benefit cuts amounting to 27- 32% overall), the top ten executives of the company rewarded themselves with compensation increases, with one executive receiving a 300 percent increase.

    The BCTGM represents more than 80,000 workers in the baking, food processing, grain milling and tobacco industries in the United States and Canada.

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    What difference does it make how the company got into that situation? If the employer says that you have to take an 8% pay cut or we are going to go bankrupt and you won't have a job I think I would accept an 8% pay cut.
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    I skimmed your articles. I was reading about it yesterday and one of the workers said he makes something like $11.50 an hour. An 8% cut would make it aobut $10.60/hour. He said that coupled with the increase in medical deductions would make it to where he would make more on unemployment.

    So I don't know what to think.

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    I'm with EW...I've had a hard time pinpointing my feelings. Initially, I was very much "blame the union/workers" for not coming back despite threats of closure. They received bad advice too in my opinion to keep striking. I also now blame the company for cutting back sharply on their workers pay/medical deductions etc while top people saw major increases in their pay and bonuses.

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    I think it absolutely should matter why the company is in financial trouble. If it's because they've been doing everything right & executive pay raises are consistent with those given to the rank & file employees but costs are just simply going up, that's one thing. To ask your employees to take an 8% pay cut on top of cutting their pension funding, when the top executives have gotten huge raises & bonuses, is just greed and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. There is no excuse for a failing company to give one executive a 300% increase when it is asking employees for a 30% DECREASE.

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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    I cant' decide on this one. While it may be true that some are making that little, i'm pretty sure all 18,000+ people are not going to be better off on unemployment. Part of me feels like this is a terrible time to be sticking to your guns and inconsiderate, to put it lightly, to those who may not be on board with the strike/non-Baker's Union members.

    The other part of me can't ignore the whole corporate greed side of this that most definitely played a huge role in the demise of Hostess.

    But i have a problem saying that the union workers have no responsibility in this. Because regardless of the greed that lead them to this point, they knew this was coming and at this point, the company could not whether a strike. They were essentially handing in letters of resignation, but not just for them, for everyone.

    And i wonder...if instead, everyone who wanted to find themselves on unemployment and searching for a job instead had actually done just that...how many really would have? (This is why i find the secret ballot push that the Teamsters urged to be a convincing argument) And i acknowledge that you can not collect unemployment if you voluntarily leave.

    Ultimately, i question that these 18000 people are better off, and i don't nec. think that the Baker's union holds no blame.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    I think it absolutely should matter why the company is in financial trouble. If it's because they've been doing everything right & executive pay raises are consistent with those given to the rank & file employees but costs are just simply going up, that's one thing. To ask your employees to take an 8% pay cut on top of cutting their pension funding, when the top executives have gotten huge raises & bonuses, is just greed and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. There is no excuse for a failing company to give one executive a 300% increase when it is asking employees for a 30% DECREASE.

    Bye Twinkies, I loved you!
    Greedy or not ... one employee or even a few top executives getting a pay increase is a drop in the bucket compared to 8% of 18,000 employees pay. I doubt if it made much difference to the bottom line. That still is not a good enough reason for 18,000 employees to be in the unemployment line because they are upset because some CEO got a pay raise or bonus. Life isn't always fair boo hoo. That is not a good enough reason for all these people to walk away from thier jobs especially when they may not be able to find another one.
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    From what I read Gloria, the workers were advised that there were other options even though the judge said there wasn't. They were holding out for non existent options.

    I completely support the reason for striking but when it came down to it...when they were advised the company was going to fold because no one is making their product for an extended product...well that's where the responsibility falls on the workers and the union.

    Would you not participate in a strike if you are told you are losing 3% of your pay, on top of already paying more towards your insurance because they reduced how much they contributed, on top of losing the company contribution to your pension so you are having to contribute while a select few are getting raises in excess of 300%. That's disgusting.

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica80 View Post
    From what I read Gloria, the workers were advised that there were other options even though the judge said there wasn't. They were holding out for non existent options.

    I completely support the reason for striking but when it came down to it...when they were advised the company was going to fold because no one is making their product for an extended product...well that's where the responsibility falls on the workers and the union.

    Would you not participate in a strike if you are told you are losing 3% of your pay, on top of already paying more towards your insurance because they reduced how much they contributed, on top of losing the company contribution to your pension so you are having to contribute while a select few are getting raises in excess of 300%. That's disgusting.
    The union did have the information though and knew the company wasn't bluffing. Yet still went ahead knowing these people were going to lose their jobs. That is what is disgusting to me.

    On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Hostess Brands indicated that if it couldn?t resume normal operations by 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 15 that it would have to begin the liquidation process. Teamster Hostess members and all Hostess employees should know this is not an empty threat or a negotiating tactic, but the certain outcome if members of the BCTGM continue to strike. This is based on conversations with our financial experts, who, because the Teamsters were involved in the legal process, had access to financial information about the company.
    wlillie likes this.
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    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

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