Unions’ power is broken

Nov 29, 2012


More than 18,000 people are without jobs around the country as Hostess moves to liquidate its assets and close forevermore.

The company had a good run of nearly 83 years, starting up at the onset of the Great Depression.

Times were different then. People wanted jobs — even begged for jobs — and would take just about anything offered to them. Simply put: Workers were hungry.

Then came the Great Recession, as some have called it, of this millennium. Hostess — the giant retailer of baked goods with a roster of names such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Sno Balls — found itself on the losing end of basic economics.

Sure, there was demand. Sure, there were relatively cheap supplies.

But, nope, there was no longer a cheap workforce.

Somewhere between the Great Depression and Great Recession, the factory climate changed. Unions took over.

While unions ardently fought for decades to provide decent living wages and benefits for employees, they simply got too big for their own good. Many evolved into something that was not the spirit in which they were created.

Factories in the Rust Belt and elsewhere laid off workers and suffered through bitter strikes. Some ultimately shut down production lines as union demands grew beyond companies’ pocketbooks.

Power of the unions, as it turned out, was an illusion.

There’s little incentive for many factories to put up with unions if they can get big dollar incentives to relocate to another place — whether it’s Mexico, China or another state — and find a surplus of unskilled or skilled laborers who will work for a decent, albeit lesser, wage.

It’s basic math. And as times got tough in the recent recession, the executives at the top started really digging deep for savings.

Unions, in turn, started really digging in their heels. Some, to be fair, made incredible concessions to keep their workers working. But many decided to demand more — lower health care deductibles and premiums, higher wages, better benefits.

And, in the case of Hostess, these workers and their communities were stuck with a real zinger when the union failed to come through for them: no jobs.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



HAHA...I think I've read the Daily Kos once - but so what if I read it religiously? The only thing I read daily is the NYTimes. #2,3,4,5,6, - surely you jest!! I bet you were LOL when writing such gobbledygoop....if not, you should have been. Still haven't gotten used to the idea Obama is the leader of the free world for another 4 years? Maybe some eggnog during the holidays will ease the pain.....


I apologize for the Kos reference; that was my recollection of what you had previously written but on reflection it was probably Huffington Post. It's unfortunate the Tribune went to this sucky format and did away with the search feature. Eggnog is always good.


Finally! Eggnog - a source of agreement!


Brilliant....you're on a roll!


Seeeee Lan, I tried to warn you. I've learned long ago that it takes a smart person to know they're not. When someone else has the right answer and can eloquently delivery the message then, to attempt to add my brilliance to brilliancy is in part, the definition of stupidity. You see, it typically takes 3 liberals to change a light bulb....one to hold the bulb and two to turn the ladder. I guess, I'm just more efficeint.


"When someone else has the right answer....". Vlad - is this you under another alias?? Just because you are "far-right" doesn't make you "right" (it does make you delusional, however). Your joke would be funnier and more efficient if you said,"it typically takes 3 liberals to change a CFL bulb...". Oh well, d, I guess you're just shy. Don't say I tried to take away your 1st Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech...I am now going to listen to something really brilliant, music from the master who passed today, Dave Brubeck...


Obama Warns GOP Not To Fight Him On Debt Ceiling: “I Will Not Play That Game”…

Don't blame me, blame Keenen Ivory Wayans, but it seems appropriate: http://youtu.be/L8P9nuXNNsk


Worker's have no rights in America, union or non union. I think Walter Reuther is rolling over in his grave. Power to the people. What happened to a government by the people for the people. I'm with you Brenda & Cowdog.



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