Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Who Will Survive?


My friend and resident liberal commentator sent me a link to this article, which makes a lot in interesting points.

First how the AFL-CIO is ready willing and quick to blame Bain Capital for Hostess' demise. Although Bain had nothing to do with Hostess in any way shape or form. Is blaming Bain a knee jerk reaction or a left talking point? Hard to tell.

But we do find out that a venture capital outfit DID have a hand in Hostess. A company called Ripplewood, which was founded by Timothy C. Collins, a major Democratic donor, purchased Hostess out of its earlier bankruptcy; intending to turn it into a showcase of how to rebuild a union company.

Yeah; that worked out well; didn't it?

Who is the first person to get involved? Richard Gephardt, former Democratic House leader.

So while the AFL-CIO is spouting "Bain', like a raven perched on a bust of Pallas, it was actually the left side of the aisle that was raping and pillaging the Twinkies. No wonder we haven't seen any long screeds in the press or on CNN about the EVIL capitalists ruining the country, one poor little union company at a time.

Another interesting point is the increases in executive compensation:

Perhaps the most egregious sin of Ripplewood’s oversight of Hostess was the increase in management’s compensation at the same time it was seeking to cut employee compensation. The Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union pointed out that the company’s new chief executive was paid $2,550,000, up from $750,000. Another “executive received a pay increase from $500,000 to $900,000 and another received one taking his salary from $375,000 to $656,256,” the union said. Mr. Collins declined to comment.

Let me say this about that; First; the company is privately held, so salaries and compensation are not of public record anywhere, so it had to be some sort of espionage, if the numbers are correct. Which they may not be.

Second; assume they are correct. That is a total increase in compensation of $2,481,256; or $134 per employee. $2.58 a week- 6 cents an hour.

Amazing how math works, ain't it?

I'm not saying Management is 100% right and the union is 100% wrong. I won't even admit to a 75/25 split.

All I know is if 10% of the country is out of work, and I still have a job, 8% is a hell of a lot less than 100% when it comes to a pay cut.

On a personal note, I worked in a union show a few years back that was going through the same thing Hostess was. My union brothers were of the opinion that if it weren't for them our industry would cease to exist. Push came to shove, and they went out on strike. We were back within a week, but the damage was done. less than 6 months later the place was gone.

Guess what? the industry still exists.

And NONE of us are working in it.


engelj06 said...

I honestly go back and forth on unions. I think they can be a good and needed thing. That said I can see how they can be the problem and not the solution. For me I grew up with a dad that was part of a firefighters union and I saw how it helped and hurt. When the city tried to reclassify ambulance drivers to lower the pension owed by the city I saw the union fight it where without one it would have been put in place when it shouldn't have been. They wanted to reclassify so they could not pay the hazard pension, ask any ambulance driver in a city area it aint a safe job.
I've also seen where the union rigged it so that members could bank sick days so that when they are near retirement they take a year off paid while we the tax payer pay someone time and half to work their shift.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Absolute Power corrupts; absolutely.

The problem isn't so much with unions; it is the inordinate power Federal law has given them. The individual worker may need a voice, but to enshrine that voice with undo power tilts the system unfairly.

Or in the case of government unions I think the contracts should be voted on during the general election. The city or county can negotiate a contract, but the people who are paying the bills get the final say. Each contract should be for multiple years; 3 or 4 at least.

engelj06 said...

Interesting idea. Only issue I can see is voters don't approve a contract at the election what woukd the city employees be working under then? The old contract until a new one is finally passed. I think it's a good idea that would be hard to implement, plus where do you draw the line of what gets voted on and that doesn't. Union contracts, city contracts with vendors? I think you could eventually get to a point where nothing can get done.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Face it; City Leaders usually don't see an end to the money and in some cases fail to even have a reasonable budget. See Cincinnati for an example.

The contract as a whole would not be voted on, but the new taxes required to pay for the new contract would.

So, if the firefighters get a 2% raise in wages and benefits, then the vote is on a 2% rise in taxes- Property, income, sales, where ever the increase is suppose to come from.

The problem now is we have no accountability and the cities are using your money to support their cronies.

Again, look at Cincinnati and the city manager. They just gave him a 9% raise and a $35,000 bonus, claiming he hasn't had a raise in 4 years.

Yet he has had a 6% Cost of Living raise every year.

What the Hell; it ain't their money.

engelj06 said...

The problem though is that typically cities lump expenses together before increasing taxes so it woukd be hard to do the voting above. The lump all the increases like raises, increase vendor costs etc, into one tax increase. That or they cut from one service to pay another.

The other issue is that theoretically if the people are unhappy with the budgets they should be able to vote out the responsible parties and vote people in who will fix the problem.

engelj06 said...

So the more I read the more in thinking the Baker's union is the biggest problem. All the other unions have reached an agreement but this one union is willing to let the company close vs caving. That's wrong. The management of hostess sucks but that union is worse.

Side note I think it speaks volumes of the leadership I'm place at hostess that the only way they can be bothered to finalize the closing if the business is if the get bonuses to do so