Twinkies bakers say they’d rather lose jobs than take pay cuts–finance.html

By Carey Gillam and Martinne Geller | Reuters – 11 hrs ago

KANSAS CITY, Mo./NEW YORK (Reuters) – Enough is enough, say bakery workers at Hostess Brands Inc.

After several years of costly concessions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM) authorized a walk-out earlier this month after Hostess received bankruptcy court approval to implement a wage cut that was not included in its contract.

With operations stalled, the company that makes Twinkies and other famous U.S. brands said last week that liquidating its business was the best way to preserve its dwindling cash. It won court approval on Wednesday to start winding down in a process expected to claim 15,000 jobs immediately and over 3,000 more after about four months.

Interviews with more than a dozen workers showed there was little sign of regret from employees who voted for the strike. They said they would rather lose their jobs than put up with lower wages and poorer benefits.

“They’re just taking from us,” said Kenneth Johnson, 46, of Missouri. He said he earned roughly $35,000 with overtime last year, down from about $45,000 five years ago.

“I really can’t afford to not be working, but this is not worth it. I’d rather go work somewhere else or draw unemployment,” said Johnson, a worker at Hostess for 23 years.

With 18,500 workers, Hostess has 12 different unions including the BCTGM, which has about 5,600 members on the bread and snack item production lines, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents about 7,500 route sales representatives, drivers and other employees.

Unlike some non-unionized rivals, the maker of Wonder Bread and Drake’s cakes had to navigate more than 300 labor contracts, with terms that often strained efficiency and competitiveness, Hostess officials have said. In some extreme cases, contract provisions required different products to be delivered on different trucks even when headed to the same place.

Aside from those so-called onerous labor contracts, Hostess has grappled for some time with rising ingredient costs and a growing health consciousness that has made its sugary cakes less popular. It filed for bankruptcy in January, only three years after emerging from a prior bankruptcy.

Lance Ignon, speaking on behalf of Hostess, said the company recognized how difficult the past few years had been for workers and wished it did not have to ask them for more givebacks.

“But the reality was that the company could not survive without those concessions,” Ignon said.


Workers had a laundry list of frustrations, from rising healthcare costs to decreased wages and delayed pension benefits. They even cited a $10-per-week per worker charge they said Hostess claimed was needed to boost company capital.

“They have taken and taken and taken from us,” said Debi White, who has worked at Hostess for 26 years, most recently as a bun handler at its bread and roll plant in Lenexa, Kansas.

“They have been walking around stomping their foot saying either you give in … or else we’re going to close you now. Well, go ahead, we’re tired of their threats,” she said. “That’s how we feel.”

Hostess workers are now scrambling to figure out when their health insurance runs out — or if it already has — and where and how to apply for job retraining and unemployment benefits.

Following a summer and autumn spent in labor negotiations trying to find a common path to reorganization, Hostess’ management gained concessions from some unions, including the Teamsters.

The fear of thousands of job losses, for its own members and other unions, led the Teamsters to plead with the BCTGM to hold a secret ballot to determine if bakery workers really wanted to continue with the strike, even with the threat of closure.

Teamsters officials complained that bakery union leaders did “not substantively look for a solution or engage in the process,” and complained that the BCTGM called for its strike on November 9 without first notifying the Teamsters.

They said that, unlike the bakery union, the Teamsters voted to “protect all jobs at Hostess.” Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall said Wednesday’s court approval for liquidation marked “a sad day for thousands of families affected by the closing of this company.”

Bakery union President Frank Hurt has said that any labor agreements would only be temporary as Hostess was doomed anyway. The union said new owners were needed to get Hostess back on track and the only way they would return to work was if Hostess rescinded its wage and benefit cuts.

“Our membership … just had no confidence in this management group being able to run a business,” said Conrad Boos, a BCTGM local business representative in Missouri.

Hurt was not immediately available to comment on Wednesday but the union said in a court filing its sole objective was to leave Hostess with “a real, rather than an illusory or theoretical, likelihood of establishing a stable business with secure jobs.”

On Wednesday, Hostess’ lawyer Heather Lennox said the company had received a “flood of inquiries” from potential buyers for several brands that could be sold at auction, and expects initial bidders within a few weeks.

(Additional reporting by Peter Rudegeair in NEW YORK; Editing by Paul Tait)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! Take the time to share yourself with those you love. Count your blessings and remember what is really important in life… your family, friends, health, and God… without Him, all else would not be possible.


Be safe and God bless!

Union protests at Los Angeles airport disrupt holiday travelers

Ok, this is silly. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are protesting because workers voted to leave the union. What does the SEIU hope to accomplish? Do they think the workers will rethink their departure?


LOS ANGELES –  A labor dispute at America’s third busiest airport turned what was already a bad travel day into a nightmare for some travelers.

One of the nation’s biggest unions snarled traffic as it tried to block two entrances into the Los Angeles International airport Wednesday, in a protest police feared would turn the streets outside into a parking lot at a time when tens of thousands of cars are pouring into the airport.

The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, claims a company that employs 450 sky caps, cabin cleaners and security workers at LAX illegally broke a contract and is in violation of the city’s living wage ordinance.

That company, Aviation Safeguards, claims that’s inaccurate, saying 52 percent of its workers voted to decertify the SEIU. It also says employee pay has increased by more than $2 million since workers kicked the union out to compensate for changes in their health care policies.

In protest, and with five additional LAX contracts expiring at the end of November, SEIU chose the busiest travel day of the year to bring attention to its cause. “We understand the inconvenience, but workers here are making the decisions of life,” spokesman Ernesto Guerrero said.

“Airport workers, they serve the public,” he told Fox News on Wednesday morning outside LAX Terminal 4. “They are very proud about their job. Unfortunately, they are being forced to do these extreme measures because otherwise no one is listening to them. The airport is not listening to them. The mayor of the city is not listening to them. We are being forced to take these extreme actions.”

The protest began in the afternoon, and police arranged traffic diversions to keep travelers moving, even if roads were blocked. But some people ended up in backups and were delayed as they tried to make their flights, a police commander told the Associated Press.

Airlines reported no major issues with passengers missing flights because of the protest, a LAX spokeswoman said. Thirteen people were arrested in the protest, including a dozen who sat down in the street and disobeyed a dispersal order, the Associated Press reports.

The union planned to bus in roughly a 1,000 union members to march down Century Boulevard, the main entrance into LAX, and Sepulveda Boulevard, the entrance used by motorists coming north from the beach cities and Orange County. An estimated 1.7 million are expected to use LAX over the Thanksgiving holiday.

While the union’s action did bring attention to its cause, as dozens of local radio and TV vans converged on the airport to cover the event, it also could backfire, according to the company the union accuses of breaking a contract.

“There is no dispute from our perspective. Our employees voted by a large majority to decertify from the SEIU,” Aviation Safeguard Vice President Joe Conlon said. “It is voluntary process to join a union. And it is voluntary process to not be part of a union. Our employees in a majority voted they did not want to be part of the SEIU anymore. So we don’t have a dispute. Our employees are happy with the wages and benefits they receive.”

Read more:

What are RINOs, DINOs, and I don’t knows?

14 May, 2010 – 03:28 — Patrick

What are RINOs, DINOs, and I don’t knows?

RINOs are Republicans In Name Only.
DINOs are Democrats In Name Only.
I Don’t Knows are people who don’t really have any clue about politics at all.

Each political party has members within their ranks who don’t adhere to core party fundamentals. These members are probably better suited to run as Independents but hold on to their party designation for multiple reasons. This, in the long run, confuses the electorate.

RINOs populate the current Republican Party in massive numbers. From Arnold Schwarzenegger to John McCain, these RINOs are really liberals at worst and independents at best.

The RINO Schwarzenegger played at conservatism for several years but then capitulated when a lot of his state initiatives were defeated a few years ago. The California teacher’s unions were a major factor in those defeats. Since that time, Schwarzenegger has gone out of his way to distance himself from the Republican Party and cozy up with the liberals. His grab-ankles pandering really doesn’t surprise many of us since he is from a socialist country and married to a Kennedy too. It was always in his nature to support liberal socialists.

John McCain is another big RINO. He claims to be a ‘maverick’ and a Republican but is really nothing more than your typical lying politician. He co-authored the McCain-Feingold Act which is a direct infringement upon the 1st Amendment. He’s also in favor of granting amnesty for illegal aliens. For the life of me, I cannot understand how McCain can continue to call himself a Republican. Hopefully in November, the people of the great state of Arizona will throw him out of office for good.

DINOs. Prior to the late 1980’s, it was nearly impossible for a candidate to get elected in the Deep South if they carried an ‘R’ beside their name. This had a lot to do with the Deep South going through Reconstruction after the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression). Republicans were viewed as outsiders and carpetbaggers. So what happened in many cases, a conservative would run as a democrat as that was their only real chance of getting elected. These DINOs were also known as Blue Dog democrats. One of the most notable of these Blue Dogs is Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama. He finally became a Republican during Clinton’s term as President.

Lastly, we have ‘I don’t knows’. This group of people really don’t get into politics in any depth. Most of them are swayed by sound bites and public opinions. A large part of this group identifies with the political party of their close family members, having never given much thought as to why they believe in that particular party affiliation. We can see the same sort of odd allegiance in religious views too. Some may even claim they’re ‘independent’ when confronted because they cannot articulate their beliefs. Claiming independence is their way of not appearing ignorant to others. True Independents can discuss political ideals and hold their own in those types of debates.

Is being ‘poor’ a learned behavior?

This was first posted on my personal website several years ago…

I know I’ll probably cause a little controversy with this subject matter, so here goes. At one time, I believed that being poor was unfair, or that some folks just didn’t catch the right breaks in life, or maybe the odds were stacked against them so as to make overcoming them insurmountable. I don’t think that anymore. I’ve had the fortune, or misfortune… depending upon your view of life, to have met a diverse cross section of people from all walks of life. Those that were successful shared several positive traits, while those who occupied the bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder, usually had a host of negative traits. Negative traits included limited education, limited marketable skills, little or no initiative, and poor lifestyle choices.

It is by talking to people over the years that I’ve come to the conclusion that being poor is a learned behavior. Some of the bad behaviors included drug/alcohol addition, gambling addictions, poor financial planning, poor saving habits, and the need for instant gratification… sacrificing financial futures for fulfilling immediate wants. It is with those negative habits that many people find it difficult to overcome. That does not mean people of means don’t suffer from those bad habits too… it just means that they have enough financial or educational resources at their disposal to offset many of the hardships associated with those habits. Comments?

Judicial Review

This is something every citizen must understand. We’re not taught this in schools. Most of the teachers I had in school believed the Constitution was a ‘living’ document. That is to say, the meaning of the Constitution changes over time. That couldn’t be more wrong. The Constitution is a rigid document. The ONLY way to change its meanings is via the amendment process.


Judicial Review

The Supreme Court of the United States spends much, if not most, of its time on a task which is not delegated to the Supreme Court by the Constitution. That task is: Hearing cases wherein the constitutionality of a law or regulation is challenged. The Supreme Court’s nine Justices attempt to sort out what is, and what is not constitutional. This process is known as Judicial Review. But the states, in drafting the Constitution, did not delegate such a power to the Supreme Court, or to any branch of the government.

Since the constitution does not give this power to the court, you might wonder how it came to be that the court assumed this responsibility. The answer is that the court just started doing it and no one has put a stop to it. This assumption of power took place first in 1794 when the Supreme Court declared an act of congress to be unconstitutional, but went largely unnoticed until the landmark case of Marbury v Madison in 1803. Marbury is significant less for the issue that it settled (between Marbury and Madison) than for the fact that Chief Justice John Marshall used Marbury to provide a rationale for judicial review. Since then, the idea that the Supreme Court should be the arbiter of constitutionality issues has become so ingrained that most people incorrectly believe that the Constitution granted this power.


More on this topic can be found on the link above.

Well, its done.

Barack Obama, head of the United Welfare States of America, won the election. I’ve said many times before, “the election of Obama is proof positive that too many stupid people have the ability to vote.” I stand by that comment but would also like to add to it. Here it is… “people have chosen to exchange freedom for the economic shackles of a welfare state. They’ve forgotten what it means to be a free people.” The entitlement class is quickly decimating our culture and work ethic. God help us all!

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