Labor did sit down with management. To the tune of an 8% pay cut. As working people they can only be expected to sacrifice so much. Are we headed towards the day when workers are expected to pay to keep a company solvent?
Ron, do you actually believe efficiency is a bad word to organized labor? Union jobs are on time and on schedule. Try to get productivity out of $9 hr tradesmen. Good luck. An old saying goes, "you pay peanuts you get monkeys."
Hostess was just another casualty of rapacious capitalism.
I don't even pretend to know what has been happening with hostess other than catching some blurbs on the news. My comments come mostly from my personal experiences in the work place. Don't get me wrong, in the electrical trade, I have seen terrific workers as well as those not worth a plug nickel, both in the union and not. While on a recent job, of which I did by myself, I had a couple of carpenter’s out of the blue comment that if "X" electric (a union shop) was doing this job they would have had 10 electricians. Then the other one said "and they would be getting half as much done as you." While, there was a little exaggeration going on here, when I was in the union, I was told to slow down that I was getting too much done. The reason was that I was stealing someone else his job. I have heard that in the New York local, they will rough up anybody who is continually too productive. Since I haven't worked in NYC I can't say with certainty that it's true, but I have worked with Local 3 guys and have little reason not to believe it.
As far as jobs done on time and on schedule, that is easy enough because figure typical labor rates and often adjust with the sub contractors because they know how long their crew takes to do a project as well as putting 2 workers to do a job that can be done just as easily and quickly as one, so even with poor production a job can come in on time. On budget can be another issue.
If I bid a job and figure using labor at $30/ hour but never win the bid (which means my bid is the cheapest) but never win the bid there are three things I can use to lower my number. First is to lower profit and material markup which is usually around 2 to 3%. Not much to work with there. The next is to lower overhead. That would mean laying off the office help. The third is to lower labor cost which is usually the most expensive part of the project. That can only mean lowering wages or getting more production out of the workers. I don't expect more production, so the next time I bid, I lower the labor rate to $20 or $25 per hour. If I get that job, I can't pay $30 anymore or I go out of business. Don't get me wrong, I do believe in treating employees well, but market conditions often dictate labor rates that I can pay. If I have employees who tell each other to slow down and make this job last or because they are stealing another worker's job. Then they are taking from my profit (and or salary) which is already lower than a typical electrician's wage. BTW as a business owner, if I go out of business, I am not eligible for unemployment.
Taking an 8% cut is a good but modest start but it's a far cry from paying your employer to keep your job. That is a ridiculous comment, yet labor sometimes expects that from their employer. Yes, that's right. An employee has to produce more than he is paid or there is no reason to hire him.
Since you don't think much of free markets and Capitalism, I'm curious as to what kind of economic model you would prefer to see and how it would work?