Monday, November 19, 2012

I am just so tired of the business world bashing unions. The latest, Hostess, is blaming its union for its decision to file bankruptcy and close down.  What Hostess failed to say, however, is that even as it was readying the bankruptcy filing, it boosted the CEO and other executives salaries an amazing amount.

This is from Nation Of Change, at the following address:

"At the time, creditors warned that the decision signaled an attempt to “sidestep” bankruptcy rules, potentially as a means for trying to keep the executive at a failing company. The Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union pointed this out in their written reaction to the news that the business is closing:
BCTGM members are well aware that as the company was preparing to file for bankruptcy earlier this year, the then CEO of Hostess was awarded a 300 percent raise (from approximately $750,000 to $2,550,000) and at least nine other top executives of the company received massive pay raises. One such executive received a pay increase from $500,000 to $900,000 and another received one taking his salary from $375,000 to $656,256."
I'm sorry, but crying poverty while spending millions on a handful of executives just doesn't fly.
Unions are responsible for some of the best improvements in a worker's life. A 40-hour week? Thank a union. Sick time? Thank a union. Bloated CEO salaries? Thank (or not) a corporation. Lavish salries for top executives? Thank (or not) a corporation.
Without a union, you get places like Walmart. There, horrible working conditions have led to worker strikes, including the ones planned for next Friday, Black Friday. No healthcare, very small wages, working hours kept deliberately low, and shifting from week to week, working conditions unsafe at any time. And how has Walmart responded? Retaliation for any worker speaking out. The Walmart family (The Waltons) are multibillionaires. And it's the low-paid workers who have made them so wealthy. Walmart is such a bully that the suppliers to them adopt the same attitude towards their workers, just to meet Walmart's demands.
An attack on unions is an attack on the middle class. As union membership dwindles, so do wages and benefits. Companies place unreasonable demands on their employees, and the employees have no right to say no that doesn't include them losing their jobs.
I am not saying that unions are 100% good. They aren't. And yes, some unions have built themselves into such a power that they can bargain for, and receive, incredible benefits and wages for their workers. But the companies play a part in that, as well. They acquiesce. Strikes that don't find popular support fail. 
And really, how can a company that pays its executives exhorbitant salaries, even when they don't do a good job, say to its workers, who do a great job, that they can't pay them  a living wage? Don't blame the unions for bankruptcies. Blame corporate greed.

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