Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category
Hostess, the makers of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is going out of business after striking workers failed to heed a Thursday deadline to return to work, the company said.
“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” Hostess CEO Gregory F. Rayburn said in announcing that the firm had filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to shutter its business. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”
Hostess Brands Inc. had warned employees that it would file to unwind its business and sell off assets if plant operations didn’t return to normal levels by 5 p.m. Thursday. In announcing its decision, Hostess said its wind down would mean the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores in the United States.
The Irving, Texas-based company had already reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. But thousands of members in its second-biggest union went on strike late last week after rejecting in September a contract offer that cut wages and benefits. Officials for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union say the company stopped contributing to workers’ pensions last year.
In an interview with Fox Business, CEO Gregory Rayburn said many workers had already crossed picket lines this week to go back to work despite warnings by union leadership that they’d be fined.
“The problem is we don’t have enough crossing those lines to maintain normal production,” said Rayburn, who first joined Hostess earlier this year as a restructuring expert.
Hostess said that production at about a dozen of the company’s 33 plants had been seriously affected by the strike. Three plants were closed earlier this week.
The privately held company filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade. The company cited increasing pension and medical costs for employees as one of the drivers behind its latest filing. Hostess had argued that workers must make concessions for it to exit bankruptcy and improve its financial position.
The company, founded in 1930, was fighting battles beyond labor costs, however. Competition is increasing in the snack space and Americans are increasingly conscious about healthy eating. Hostess also makes Dolly Madison, Drake’s and Nature’s Pride snacks.
If the motion is granted, Hostess would begin closing operations as early as Tuesday.
“Most employees who lose their jobs should be eligible for government-provided unemployment benefits,” Hostess said.
by Matthew Boyle
Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 president Mike Golash, now an “Occupy” movement organizer, was caught on tape Sunday revealing his political goals: overthrowing capitalism in the United States and instituting a communist government.
“Progressive labor is a revolutionary communist organization,” Golash said during an Occupy DC “People’s Assembly” on August 19.
“Its objective,” he added, “is to make revolution in the United States, overthrow the capitalist system and build communism.”
Golash said he and his comrades are “trying to learn something from the historical revolutions of the past: the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution, the revolutions in Cuba and Eastern Europe.”
“What can we learn from them so we can build a more successful movement to transform capitalist society?”
“An organization has to be built which can bring down capitalism,” Golash said.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/20/former-union-boss-at-occupy-event-our-goal-is-to-overthrow-the-capitalist-system-and-build-communism-video/#ixzz246K0HKTn
The SEIU and the Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Factor writes, later coordinated with other public-sector unions to spend “literally hundreds of millions of dollars promoting Obamacare.”
The Daily Caller requested comments for this article from the SEIU, AFSCME and a White House spokesman. None of them responded.
A booklet published by SEIU during the 2008 election season called for “building a new American health care system,” in part by “organizing workers.” The publication argued for outcomes nearly identical to those later adopted in the Obamacare legislation.
“We … will not stop until every man, woman and child has quality, affordable care they can count on,” it read. “The time to fix health care is now.”
And in an April 9, 2011 memo, the United Healthcare Workers — a union affiliated with the SEIU — articulated its future vision, including “an ambitious plan to fight for our future by organizing healthcare workers.”
In 2010 the SEIU elected Mary Key Henry as its new International President. Henry’s background was in health care organizing. She led efforts to unionize workers at Beverly nursing homes, Catholic Health Care West, Tenet Healthcare Corporation and HCA Healthcare.
Factor, who is also a Forbes columnist and senior editor of money and politics for The Street.com, recounts emails from former federal Office of Labor-Management Standards staffer Don Loos, now a senior adviser to the president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
“It is clear that Big Labor is banking on the probability that all healthcare workers eventually become federal, state, and municipal healthcare employees,” Loos told Factor. That, he said, would make them eligible for involuntary unionization through public-sector unions like AFSCME and the SEIU.
“Obamacare is an SEIU and AFSCME membership ‘net,’” Loos claimed, “designed to eventually capture 21 million forced-dues paying government workers.” New health care jobs created by Obamacare, he said, will eventually be filled by “federal, state, and municipal healthcare employees.”
The Obamacare law, once fully implemented, will dramatically increase the number of health care workers receiving payment for their services through government programs, including Medicaid and so-called “public option” government-run insurance plans.
“The government employee unions can then enlist pro-union state governments to treat these health care workers as ‘government employees,’” Factor told The Daily Caller, “and unionize them just like they unionized the care providers” themselves.
“For every million additional health care workers unionized in the 27 non-right-to-work states,” he told TheDC, “the unions stand to earn $1 billion in dues.”
Factor writes in “Shadowbosses” that Canada’s national health care system has provided an apt example. Heritage Foundation labor economist James Sherk told him that “60 percent of Canadian health care workers and a stunning 80 percent of nurses belong to unions — more than quadruple the levels in America.”
Only 10 percent of them were union members before the advent of socialized medicine in Canada, Factor said.
The SEIU’s designs on health care reform surfaced in a meeting at the union’s headquarters held in November 2007, during the early days of the 2008 presidential election season. During one session, former Clinton senior health care policy adviser Chris Jennings made a presentation titled ’”Rx for Successful SEIU Strategy for Health Care.”
Making comprehensive health care reform a key issue during the election, Jennings’ PowerPoint presentation indicates he told an audience of mostly SEIU policymakers and executives, would be good union policy because it “creates demand for SEIU-provided services.”
Ultimately, the Obama administration granted Obamacare waivers to 1,231 employers, making them exempt from the law’s requirements for at least 30 months. Those waivers cover 613,625 employees overall, of which 88.6 percent are represented by unions and just 11.4 percent work for private employers. (RELATED: Labor unions primary recipients of Obamacare waivers)
Unions’ support for President Obama’s health care reform vision was initially tepid after his inauguration because he proposed paying for some of the legislation’s cost by levying a 40 percent excise tax on unusually expensive insurance plans.
These so-called “Cadillac” plans, which feature low deductibles and offer benefits covering expensive treatments that other plans exclude, were common among unions themselves — meaning that the unions lobbied for Obamacare despite the fact that it promised to upgrade the insurance plans of relatively few of their members.
But the administration later agreed to a moratorium on taxing those Cadillac plans, giving labor unions until 2018 to lobby for other ways to spare themselves the extra cost.
That delay added nearly an extra $120 billion to Obamacare’s overall calculated cost, a shortfall that the law made up by making additional cuts to Medicare Advantage, the “Medicare Part C” program that allows some senior citizens to receive benefits through private insurance companies
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/19/book-obamacare-law-designed-to-unionize-21-million-health-care-workers/#ixzz245vjP8Ak
Two unions representing members in four different countries offered a reward today to the person who can reveal the location of Mitt Romney’s fundraiser in London and thus enable them to protest his campaign.
“Romney is in town for the opening of the Olympics and to raise funds from rich bankers for his campaign to be the next president of the United States,” a press release from Unite and the United Steel Workers notes. “The unions want to ‘award’ Romney with two gold medals, one for austerity (for others) and the other for financial secrecy.”
The unions offer “a dinner for two in London at a American style restaurant” to the person who tells them where the Romney fundraiser will take place. Unite, a union from Britain and Ireland, couched its attack in the language of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. “It’s no surprise then that Romney is in London for a secretive but lavish fundraising event where bankers and other city elite can continue to back austerity for the 99 per cent while they continue as if it’s business as usual,” said General Secretary Len McCluskey.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard, whose union has members in the United States and Canada, hit Romney for “refusing to disclose his tax returns.” Romney has published last year’s tax returns and promises this year’s when they are available, but he has published less than presidential candidates traditionally release.
After the collapse of 17-month-long union negotiations on July 3, unionized health-care workers walked out of five nursing home facilities in Connecticut, but not before placing some elderly patients in dire medical risk through acts of sabotage, according to the company that owns and operates the facilities.
“In the hours leading up to the strike by the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU (the Union) against five HealthBridge Management Health Care Centers in Connecticut, Union members engaged in multiple illegal and dangerous acts against Center residents,” reads a statement released by HealthBridge on Tuesday afternoon.
According to police reports obtained by The Daily Caller and reported Monday by the RedState blog, HealthBridge Management Health Care Centers alleged that union employees in at least three of its facilities intentionally mixed up or removed patient name plates, photos, medical bracelets and dietary advisories as they began their strike. Additionally, the police reports include allegations of both vandalism and larceny.
A July 3 police report from the Danbury Health Care Center in Danbury, Conn., states that “between the hours of 2300 [11:00 pm] on 7/2/12 and 0700 [7:00 am] today, 7/3/12, there were several incidents that directly affected and potentially could have negatively impacted patient care.”
“The incidents ranged from clean linens being thrown on the floor to more serious incidents whereby patients’ identification wrist bands were removed as well as patient identifiers on room doors and wheelchairs.”
“There are no suspects,” the report continues, but “the persons involved are presumed to be employees who are part of a protest taking place outside outside against the Danbury Health Care Center.”
At the Newington Health Care Center, in Newington, Conn., police reported that “several items were discovered missing,” including six handles used to operate patient lifts for individuals with mobility problems. Several stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs were also reported missing.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/18/striking-seiu-workers-intentionally-endangered-ct-nursing-home-patients-says-company/#ixzz214A8v8ng