Union That Helped Bring Down Hostess Gets to Snack on Federal Funds

Now with creamy new pork filling. Mmmm!HostessWhen Hostess filed for bankruptcy last year, several problems were to blame, but the bakers union refusing to accept a new contract and striking was the straw that broke the Twinkie manufacturer’s back. They refused to return to work even after the company warned them it would have to shut down. The Teamsters even begged them to take the deal (though the bakers union has noted that the Teamsters were getting a better deal than they were).

Now that Hostess has shut down, those self-same union strikers are now benefitting from government program designed to help those who have lost their jobs due to “global trade.” Investor’s Business Daily analyzes:

[T]he Labor Department decided to shower Hostess workers with Trade Adjustment Assistance, a multibillion-dollar pork barrel program that was beefed up as a bone to Democrats, who were blocking passage of three free-trade treaties in Congress in 2012.

TAA is a lavish program doled out by the Labor Department for laid-off workers who've lost their jobs due to "global trade."

It provides worker retraining due to the supposed evils of free trade — plus moving expenses, baby-sitting expenses and as much as two years of unemployment pay. If a worker ends up making less than his union salary afterward, Uncle Sam spots the worker for 50% of the supposed lost wages in a "free" subsidy.

Investor’s Business Daily goes on to note that global trade is not one of the reasons for Hostess’ problems. Import of baked goods is not increasing, while the domestic baking industry is growing, albeit slowly. But those salaries and pensions by Hostess employees are worth a look:

In Hostess' case, labor costs were almost certainly a factor. The Labor Department says the average wage for bakers nationally is $11 an hour.

The unionized Hostess bakers were pulling in as much as twice that amount, which, together with pensions, was what made the company uncompetitive.

Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris has joined every other federal department in warning of the deep, terrible – apocalyptic, even – cuts sequestration may bring. While Harris warns about cuts to staff at job and training centers for the unemployed and slower processing of unemployment claims, he makes no mention of cuts to this TAA program. He also remarkably claims that every dollar in unemployment benefits generates $2 in economic activity, so obviously we can fix all our economic problems and become rich by laying everybody off. It won’t be safe to work anyway, because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will have to do fewer inspections “in the most dangerous workplaces.”

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  • Paul.||

    [T]he Labor Department decided to shower Hostess workers with Trade Adjustment Assistance

    One more department and program to cut.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Funny how they never mention things like this when Seqestradoom is discussed.

  • Paul.||

    If you started looking at the literally thousands of oddball programs and offices the federal government maintains, it's funny how they can go all day and never mention a one of them.

    Nope, it's always "your planes will crash, your houses will burn, hide your kids, hide your wife..."

    Look, here's one right here: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

    Yep... have an extended family member who work(ed) for County Extnsion (the above link is the federal umbrella for that program). Her entire career was obtaining money for County Extension to make sure County Extension continued as a program.

    You know what County Extension started as? Here's an example mission statement from one County Extension:

    Through the programs these employees provide, Texans are better prepared to:
    •eat well, stay healthy, manage money, and raise their children to be successful adults.
    •efficiently help themselves through preventing problems and using tools for economic stability and security.
    •improve stewardship of the environment and of the state’s natural resources.

    County extension used to teach women how to can stuff back in the old days. I'll bet you they still have employees that do that shit.

    Don't ever, ever tell me that nothing can be cut.

  • ||

    I won't tell you that, Paul. I'll tell you nothing will be cut.

  • ||

    Thanks Paul. Jerk. Goddammit now I am going to pour another vodka. A double.

    Jesus.

  • JW||

    Nothing will be cut until after the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us.

  • JW||

    I think I found someone who can be cut.

    MASSHO-O-O-OLE!

  • Virginian||

    The Indian Arts and Crafts Board is my favorite example of a useless government program.

  • Mr Whipple||

    One more department and program to cut.

    You mean, one more endless program that will never be cut. Ever.

  • Johnny||

    just as Alan implied I am in shock that any body can profit $6783 in a few weeks on the computer. did you read this web page... http://www.youtube.com.qr.net/kaaS

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck protectionism. "Adjusting" the economy always fucks it up.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Has anyone been getting pissed by these realtors commercials lately?

  • JW||

    It gives me an excuse to flip the bird at the tee-vee each and every time.

    "So, won't you please help support a bankrupt system, which is sucking you dry and humping your dead aunt, that is the lifeblood of our industry."

  • Cdr Lytton||

    I would pay good money for a TV with a rubber screen or some other kind of protector. One of these days I'm going to put something through it.

  • ||

  • Cdr Lytton||

    But then I'd need a protector from the TV.

    Just out of curiosity though, is that the set in Warty's basement?

  • ||

    No, Warty's TV doesn't absorb you, it just shows hardcore bestiality porn on a 24/7 rotation.

    Long live the new flesh.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Has anyone been getting pissed by these realtors commercials lately?

    I was working next to a realtor a couple weeks ago. They all left and locked up at 1PM. Didn't even bother to leave anyone there to answer the phones.

  • Aresen||

    The Chinese took are Twinkies?

  • Generic Stranger||

    I thought it was the Mexicans that were buying them.

    DEY TERK OUR HO HOS!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Sí se puede!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Goddammit.

  • Paul.||

    That really says it all, doesn't it?

  • Paul.||

    OT: Facebook offered assurances Monday that the social media site is removing some posts and so-called tribute pages related to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting over concerns they're being used to exploit the tragedy.

    Now if someone could just remove politicians and gun control advocates, also over concerns they're attempting to exploit the tragedy.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/b.....ebook.html

  • Paul.||

    Blumenthal said they are not asking that all Sandy Hook-related tribute or donation pages be removed, just the ones that are not authorized by the families.

    "Facebook needs to follow its own rules, and enforce those rules," Blumenthal said.

    You know what other organization should follow its own rules, Mr. Blumenthal?

  • ||

    Blumenthal: the Elliot Spitzer of Connecticut. Except whatever illegal hypocritical thing he likes to do, he hasn't been caught. Yet.

  • General Butt Naked||

    It appears that he likes to deprive people of their constitutional rights, which is looked upon way less favorably then transactions between consenting adults.

    Yup, that's where were at right now. Weep motherfuckers, weep.

  • General Butt Naked||

    less = more

    or something...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Has anyone been getting pissed by these realtors commercials lately?

    Yes.

    Fuck the National Association of Realtors.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What purpose do they serve, anyway? I mean, what with the Internet and all.

    I see the purpose of brokers in commercial real estate transactions, but not residential.

  • Sevo||

    "I see the purpose of brokers in commercial real estate transactions, but not residential."

    In CA, the transactions are so loaded with regulations, you really don't have a choice.

  • Paul.||

    I dunno, we've got a realtor trying to sell a property right now, and he's doing a shitload of ground pounding for us. It makes me realize I wouldn't want to be doing all this stuff in my precious video game time.

    Although, the realtors have created a bit of a self-serving microcosm. Ie, to sell a house, you need a realtor, because you're not selling the house to buyers, you're seeling it to other realtors who then 'present' the house to their buying customer. Or something. I'm sure the Kochs are somehow involved.

  • Harun||

    I think they are less helpful in buying a property than in selling one.

    You can find properties you like on-line fairly easily after all.

    I totally agree they make their money.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    What purpose do they serve, anyway? I mean, what with the Internet and all.

    Money laundering?

  • Overpaid & Underworked||

    They provide a services like pricing, negotiating, local knowledge of the market, plodding through all the regulations, etc. Some people don't want to deal with that kind of shit.

    My wife sells real estate here in Illinois and works very hard at her job, and there is a direct correlation of how hard you work and how much you get paid. Just like any profession there are good ones and bad ones. Whether you use one or not is your choice, but implying they don't provide a legitimate service (at least as much as anyone else) is just retarded.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    concerns they're being used to exploit the tragedy.

    Right.

    Because except for those facebook pages, nobody is exploiting that in any way.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The Chilluns of Sandy Hook Elementary deserve a vote!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What purpose do they serve, anyway?

    In theory, they may have valuable local knowledge. The problem is, they won't be forthcoming with the most valuable sort of knowledge (the kind of information which could lead you to NOT buy the house).

  • Virginian||

    Exactly. I worked at Circuit City for a while. I'm too honest for sales work. I'd be looking at TVs and when the customer was interested in the EnormoScreen I'd explain how this slightly smaller model was a much better buy. Boss was not a fan of that at all.

  • Harun||

    The sales technique you used is how you get long-term repeat customers. It is the best sales technique.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "every dollar in unemployment benefits generates $2 in economic activity"

    huh?

  • JW||

    If we fire everyone, we can double the size of the economy!

  • ||

    Don't try to make sense of it, it's a riddle designed to drive you mad.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm not certain that my body can physically handle the amount of alchohol my brain needs to process shit like this.

  • Sevo||

    Here's the problem:
    If that's true, it would pay to fire everyone. But if you fired everyone from their job, the only 'economic activity' left is the Girl Scout cookie sales and the kids with a lemonade stand.
    Now, I'm no expert, but I sorta doubt that's gonna support the F35 program, let alone, oh, S/S.

  • AlmightyJB||

    So what you're saying is that the entire economy would go underground. Go on...

  • Sevo||

    AlmightyJB| 2.25.13 @ 7:56PM |#
    "So what you're saying is that the entire economy would go underground. Go on..."

    Maybe *that's* what he means with that multiplier!

  • AlmightyJB||

    That's so crazy it might work.

  • SweatingGin||

    The Girl Scouts will have to work *very* hard.

  • AlmightyJB||

    A 10,000,000,000,000% tax outta cover Q1.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Here's the problem:
    If that's true, it would pay to fire everyone.

    Actually not. What they're claiming is that given that someone has already been fired, giving them an unemployment check produces a certain amt of economic response.

    I think a 2:1 ratio is probably bullshit, but unemployment checks probably do produce more immediate activity than dollars given to people who are likely to save them.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    but unemployment checks probably do produce more immediate activity than dollars given to people who are likely to save them.


    That's the seen, Tulpa. The UNseen is the fact that the money those unemployed are receiving comes from productive people who end up feeling discouraged to save. Saving IS economic activity, and it is one of the most important of economic actions besides production, since capital comes from savings.

    The big problem with Keynesian logic is that a) totally ignores the role that savings play and b) it totally ignores Time Preference. Even if you have people stuffing mattresses with money, the only result from that activity is to have a greater demand for money, which will entice a few of them - at a time - to LEND that money away (besides the obvious fact that savers are also consumers.)

    Another thing: That money that the unemployed are given to spend did not enter the economy as a claim on goods through their own production of goods. That money is really stolen money. There are no reciprocal goods created or services rendered by the unemployed that makes their claim on future goods a true measure of economic growth. In fact, their activity IS destructive, not productive.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Saving doesn't produce the immediate economic activity (especially these days with velocity of money at a crawl). Don't get me wrong, saving is a good thing for a healthy economy, but these folks are trying to jumpstart things.

    If it were up to me I'd stop all spending and deregulate everything that moved, so my own wishes are not those that I'm explaining here.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    People on unemployment are likely to immediately spend every dollar they get. Therefore they generate more economic activity than someone who has enough income already and stuffs it in a mattress.

  • Calidissident||

    How many people stuff their income in a mattress?

  • Harun||

    No, you put it in bank so it earns 1% while inflation is at 2%...maybe the mattress is better.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa (LAOL-PA)| 2.25.13 @ 8:08PM |#
    "People on unemployment are likely to immediately spend every dollar they get."

    Yeah, well, enough unemployed and you'll find it hard to spend that money.
    If nobody works at Mickey D's, you're not getting a dollar deal.

  • ||

    Thank you Nancy for explaining that to us.

  • ||

    Uh, they're spending their unemployment money on the basics like food and rent, and probably not even spending as much as they normally would because of cost-cutting measures and cheaper food. The person with actual income is doing the same, but probably with less cost cutting measures and some splurging on themselves, meaning they're spending more and "generating more economic activity".

    Do you even think before you type or is more of a monkey banging on a keyboard thing for you?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Uh, they're spending their unemployment money on the basics like food and rent, and probably not even spending as much as they normally would because of cost-cutting measures and cheaper food.

    They're definitely spending more than they would if they didn't have an unemployment check coming in.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    They're definitely spending more than they would if they didn't have an unemployment check coming in.


    Sure, but they would be more productive if they found a job rather than just staying put receiving forced "donations" from the rest of us productive imbeciles, who continue to wake up early to drive to work.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    There aren't many jobs to be found for people without special skills.

  • JW||

    Not one that pays better than laying around for 99 weeks.

    Wait....

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    IMHO people on unemployment should be forced to do makework for the govt M-F 9-5 unless they're verifiably looking for a job during that time. The main obstacle to this is all the public sector unions that already do said makework.

  • ||

    You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls Employers only want boyfriends employees who have great skills.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And bangin' Facebook profiles.

  • JW||

    And that money that gets saved? The banks just take it out back and burn it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Worse, they dump it into their reserves at the Fed.

  • ||

    They make mattresses.

  • The Last American Hero||

    They also are less likely to go find a job. The existence of generous benefits also discourages savings when times are good.

    Those benefits came from somewhere, they didn't appear out of nowhere. So debasing the currency or running up the debt (borrowing from future generations) are somehow good for the economy. Not really sure how this helps the economy.

    And where are all these mattresses full of cash people keep talking about? Is that why the AM radio is constantly running mattress commercials?

  • Sevo||

    "Is that why the AM radio is constantly running mattress commercials?"

    (light-bulb image!)
    "Yes, buy your Super-Dooper-Rest mattress with the money pocket!
    You too can avoid the bank charges! Just take all you dough and jam it in there each night!"

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    There's money in the banana stand.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    People on unemployment are likely to immediately spend every dollar they get. Therefore they generate more economic activity than someone who has enough income already and stuffs it in a mattress.


    Because - everybody knows - fanning a bunch of dollar bills in front of sellers just makes them cough up goods as if by magic.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    It isn't just for union workers either. One my relatives retired from a white collar job as part of a layoff at a non-union company, qualified under TAA and went to grad school.

    Ready for the nut punch?

    Degree was in sustainability.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, we'll he probably figures he'll get subsidized in that career his whole life.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    I think it was more personal interest than career related. Note the retired part. Even so, I don't think the dots connected on how unsustainable TAA or the rest is. Just things like plastic bags or chopsticks.

  • John Galt||

    Unions are friggin' awesome. When I grow up I'm wanna be an union.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I've been told that without Unions we'd be working 12 hour days and never get vacation.

  • John Galt||

    Hahahahaahaaa!!!!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    someone who has enough income already and stuffs it in a mattress.

    Obviously, we need a MATTRESS TAX!

  • buddhastalin||

    "global trade" in Twinkies, my ass

  • Sevo||

    Lying bureaucrats handing out rewards to unions, you bet.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Have you hugged a teamster today?

  • John Galt||

    Yes, I certainly did. And I returned his favor by sticking a knife into his back.

  • desosa||

    PAUL
    That really says it all, doesn't it?
    not it.

  • desosa||

    what Rosa responded I can't believe that you can profit $5237 in one month on the computer. did you read this webpage and go to tech and home tab. http://qr.net/j99V

  • Spokanite||

    Wait a second--isn't the same Hostess where top management gave themselves a huge bonus, then demanded the workers accept wage concessions to pay for the executive raises? And now Reason is blaming those workers for the failure of the company?

    Once again, the alliance between Republicans and libertarians is one way, and is affecting the libertarians a hell of a lot more than it is the Republicans.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Spokan like a true Spokanite.

  • Fluffy||

    Hey, that's fine.

    Let's stipulate that the company failed due to management greed and incompetence.

    Guess what? That still means that the company closure wasn't related to global trade.

    That's the issue here.

    The Obama administration has falsely, and ludicrously, decided to declare that the closing of a bakery was the result of overseas competition.

  • Scott S.||

    "several problems were to blame"

    In the very first sentence. And it's a link to a previous story that details the management's role.

    You didn't even need to read that far. Just the first sentence!

  • DunzRunz||

    Dude, who doesnt just love them twinkies!

    www.NetAnon.da.bz

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