Striking workers at Hostess plants might be patting themselves on the back and saying, “Mission Accomplished,” if their mission had been to shut down the business and eliminate 18,500 jobs.
I doubt that was their intent, but it seems to have been the result of their efforts.
The struggling company, which filed for Chapter 11 protection back in January, warned its striking workers that it would file a motion Friday to unwind its business and sell its assets if plant operations didn’t return to “normal levels” by Thursday evening.
I was struck earlier this week by a comment from someone with the union who said the strike wasn’t just about Hostess, but about workers everywhere.
The problem with that kind of thinking is that when you’re dealing with a company that’s already having serious financial problems, that’s not the time to make it about anyone else but the employees at that struggling company. Forget workers somewhere else; get your own finances straight before you try to start saving the rest of the world; then you’d be in a better position to show everyone else how it’s done.
This morning, I saw an interview with a striking worker apparently recorded before Friday morning’s announcement. He talked about all of the workers who were on strike are people who have families and electric bills and car payments.
The five-year contract at the center of the dispute called for an 8% pay reduction in the first year, but then a total of a 4% increase by the fifth year. The result of which would have been, naturally, a 4% net loss to workers over those five years.
No one wants to take a cut in pay. That’s common sense.
However, a salary drop of four percent is better, most people would surely agree, than no salary at all. That, too, is common sense.
For fans of Twinkies, Ding-Dongs and Wonder Bread, there may still be hope: other manufacturers are likely to snap up the brands. So at some point, we may see a return of the popular foods to the shelves.
In the meantime, I just have to wonder if this is really what the striking workers were hoping for. If it was a big game of bluff everyone was playing, it’s clear that some aren’t that great at poker.