I still agree with that belief. Everything I have experienced in the last 30 years has convinced me, over and over again that this is the fundamental relationship between the workers and the bosses.
More, the side most actively pursuing this agenda is management.
I have worked as union labor in a closed manufacturing plant. I have stood on the lower rungs of corporate management. I have, therefore, seen this from both sides. What this two-sided, balanced experience has demonstrated is that there are people in the upper levels of corporations who wake up every morning thinking about new ways to screw labor.
Take away pensions. Cut benefits. Cut wages. Collude with other companies to set wages at “market norms”. Outsource departments. Offshore jobs. Pay management ever and ever larger salaries. Take away holidays. These have all been all-to common management practices of the past 30 years. Anyone denying this is either grossly ignorant or lying.
Now Hostess has gone down. Now Hostess is blaming it on the greedy unions. Here’s a contrary view.
Hostess went through bankruptcy twice in the last 8 years, the latest time in January of this year. As of January of 2012, management had not implemented even some of the most basic strategies for streamlining operations and cutting costs. The would include, but not be limited to, closing inefficient plants, merging warehouse operations, and closing unprofitable retail operations.
For this this gross negligence of management responsibilities, the CEO of Hostess saw his pay tripled; other high-level executives had their pay doubled. They got these raises while demanding additional union give-backs and lower wages.
One favorite bete noir of the anti-union hooligans is the US car companies. There, the unions have strangled and nearly ruined these titans of manufacturing. This is just plain wrong. 1977 was a banner year for GM. Its plants were cranking out mountains of 302 cubic inch V8 engines; this, after we ‘learned our lesson’ from the oil shocks that happened in the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford were in the White House. How did GM cope with the threat of higher oil prices? By creating the Vega. Remember them? Millions of these cars were sold between 1970 and 1977. And yet, by 1980, there were virtually none left on the road.
IOW, it was a terrible design, and a terrible car. Who designed this car? Who approved this car? Labor? No.
Ford came up with the Pinto and the Maverick. Remember the Maverick? With the gas tank situation so that it got hit in rear-end collisions, with a sickening tendency to explode? Who designed this car? Who approved this car? Labor?
Of course not. Only management can make these decisions. What was the result? The American car brands were damaged irreparably; the Big 3 are still fighting to overcome the negative perceptions created by these cars. And these are glaring examples of terrible management decisions. Oh, and the follow-up were the K- and X-cars. Another engineering masterpiece.
These horrible management decisions led to generations that assume that Japanese cars are superior to American cars. And now that Toyota has grabbed the mantle of the largest car manufacturer in the world? Quality has plummeted. We’re on the third or fourth massive recall of the last five year. Why? Because management decided to sacrifice quality for price, and over-expanded beyond what they could effectively control.
As for labor costs, the German manufacturers have some of the highest labor costs in the world. Hasn’t really dented their ability to export. In fact, they see America as a low-wage country. You know, on par with Mexico.
So you’ve seen decades of bad management decisions in any number of industries. How many airline companies have come and gone? I had a couple Sunbeam appliances that were very well made. When they finally died, I had to replace them with other brands, none of them of the level of quality.
America is engaged is a vicious bout of class warfare. As soon as management saw its opening, it took the opportunity to exploit its advantages to the hilt. The result has been a period of stagnant to falling wages for labor, a shrinking percentage of corporate profits going to management, and a level of income inequality not seen since the days of the Robber Barons. Oh, and we have an MSM that screams that labor is waging class warfare for merely pointing out these facts; largely because the MSM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of some corporation.
The employees of Wal-Mart have started fighting back. This is huge. This is the piece missing from our economic recovery. It’s called “demand”. Supply shocks causing recessions is ridiculous, on par with claiming the world is flat. How many well-supplied stores have you seen fail because of lack of demand? Answer: all of ’em.
Because, somehow, today’s Titans of Industries (read: bureaucrats who clawed their way to the top by political infighting) have forgotten what Henry Ford figured out 90 years ago: that ‘workers = consumers.’ And if you pay your workers more, they buy more, which is the whole point of the exercise, isn’t it?
So when management finds ever-more-creative, ever-more-blatant ways of squeezing labor harder, the irony is that, ultimately, they’re cutting their own throats because they’re simultaneously destroying the ability of their customers to purchase their goods and services.
Yet one more really, really stupid, short-sighted, greedy decision made by management. One more reason to fire the bums, before they given themselves another raise–at the expense of labor–and ruin even more companies.