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Forum Post: Bye to Twinkies and Workers Rights?| UPDATED | Class War on the Employment Front

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 17, 2012, 12:03 p.m. EST by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Bye to Twinkies and Workers Rights? Hostess Blames Striking Workers As it Liquidates, Romney-Style

Company had already planned to close plants even if the workers accepted the cuts and stayed at work.

November 16, 2012 |

Is it bye bye for Twinkies, or will they just no longer be union made? Photo Credit: shutterstock.com

Get your Twinkies and your Wonder Bread now, because what you see in stores is the last of them. (At least until the brands are sold at auction and revived.) Hostess Brands has announced that it will liquidate, blaming a strike by workers in one of its unions as they rejected a contract that called for them to make major concessions on wages and benefits. The workers had taken concessions to help the company survive a previous bankruptcy, and this time around when the call for cuts came, members of the Teamsters narrowly accepted them while members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers union overwhelmingly said no and went on strike. According to the company , it's all the workers' fault:

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said CEO Gregory Rayburn in a statement.

Of course, Hostess management had already claimed that the strike would be responsible for the closings of specific plants—when

it had already planned to close plants even if the workers accepted the cuts and stayed at work. BCTGM President Frank Hurt says the workers understood who they were dealing with:

Our members know that the plans all along of the Wall Street investors currently in control of this company did not include the operation of Hostess Brands any longer than it takes to sell the company in whole—or in part—in a way that will maximize the profits of these vulture capitalists regardless of the impact on the workforce.

Workers were being asked to accept cuts, but top executives had gotten massive raises as Hostess was about to enter bankruptcy. Investments in the company's future that had been promised as part of restructuring after the previous bankruptcy were never made. And as for the management, put in place by the private equity companies that now own Hostess, Hurt says:

Unfortunately however, for the past eight years management of the company has been in the hands of Wall Street investors, "restructuring experts", third-tier managers from other non-baking food companies and currently a "liquidation specialist". Six CEO’s in eight years, none of whom with any bread and cake baking industry experience, was the prescription for failure.

This is a Mitt Romney-style deal . Throughout the campaign, we read about Romney's past deals that went very much like what's happening to Hostess. Now we're watching it in real time—and seeing how when workers fight back, they're targeted for blame.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.

167 Comments

167 Comments


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[-] 8 points by agkaiser (1314) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

What will be thought of the morality of the bankers, lawyers and investors/lenders who'll get the pension funds and other assets, as the workers get screwed with the blessing of our corrupt conservative courts?

I wonder if Hostess managed to hide assets like GM did when they split off the profitable financial arm GMAC that was essentially the bank they reinvested decades of profits in. Our corrupt [especially since Bush] Federal courts were also complicit in that con. I'm talking about the ripoff previous to the one Obama bailed.

So what do most Americans think? Are these real smart operators to be admired or frauds to be charged and tried? Of course the corporatist courts and politicians won't take action. Should we consider extra judicial execution to protect ourselves from the parasites, whose smug and narcissistic arrogance, derived from their super legal advantage, gives them a sense of omnipotence and immortality?

[-] 5 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

They will get away with murder.

We've been sleeping while the Cons have made Fraud, Theft and Bribery completely legal!

Wake up, it's class war, and we're losing!!!!

[-] 7 points by agkaiser (1314) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

I started to notice they'd turned the tide about 1970, when Nixon got amendments to Taft-Hartley that hurt the unions. We were making good progress against the Tory traitors between ~1938 and the late '60s. But Reagan boosted the Tory cause even more than Nixon and America has suffered worse and worse defeats since then.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Did you notice what Nixon and friends were up to in the New World Order guinea pig called Chile? You think our unions took a hit!!! Chile was where the Power Elite saw what they could and could not GET AWAY WITH!!

[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1314) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

On September 11, 1973, the day the CIA backed coup by Pinochet murdered Allende, Kissinger said something like: Why should we let another country go communist just because its stupid people voted for it?

Do you think there's a Latin American and Middle East connection?

[-] 3 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

We been screwin around with every part of the planet. So the connection is us. We gotta control everything.

South America these days is moving thoroughly towards socialism without our interference so maybe we are growing up a little.

Probably not.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Yes

[+] -4 points by Auditor (-16) 2 years ago

Comment easing is bad practice. It may come back on you.

[-] 6 points by lighter (11) from Tresckow, PA 2 years ago

You're like a graffiti bomber. You have nothing to express yourself. You just want to degrade the expressions of others. So weak!

[-] -2 points by Auditor (-16) 2 years ago

Your lack of appreciation for the unconventional is almost worse than your lack of intelligence. The example I laid out this afternoon could not have been closer to a classroom experiment of inflation than if we were in the classroom together. Your particular type of ignorance is also of more offence than simple lack of capacity, you choose to be stupid because you are from the crowd that made fun of intellect in school. I'd even wager, you were a jock. Which also coincides with your type of bravery, bravery as long as your face isn't exposed. You're a coward and an idiot.

[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1314) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

Did you create that account today just to bump my comment?

Thanks anyway!

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 1 year ago

What does that mean?

[+] -5 points by janus2 (-387) 2 years ago

obama & co have already gotten away with murder, fraud, theft and bribery. class envy ( warfare) is an obama speciality.

[-] 5 points by lighter (11) from Tresckow, PA 2 years ago

Bullshit! Quit looking back and forth with those two faces. Attend to what's really going on, instead of echoing schizoid FOXpraganda.

[+] -6 points by janus2 (-387) 2 years ago

http://www.yolohub.com/featured/22-signs -that-voter-fraud-is-wildly-out-of-control-and-the-election-was-a-sham The murder of stevens and 3 other americans due directly to obama . a hostage set up that went wrong.

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Oh no!!!

RUN!!!!

It's the ghost of Breitbart!

The only thing missing is the Bigfoot connection. Or maybe how he used HAARP to cause hurricanes.

Will you be marching in Becks latest protest?

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8719) 2 years ago

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Will we have to listen to the horrors of Obama phones all over again?

Twice?
Four times?

janus=two facesX2=4

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8719) 2 years ago

Two faceXC2, as in E=MC2!!!

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

I think that equation is a bit too ethereal for the current version of whoever janus used to be.

Really?

He's more like 2+2= 5/3X5= -12

Nonsense in every direction.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8719) 2 years ago

Yes, I think it implied more power than Janus2 has. I stand corrected:)

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Indeed.......................:)

E=Mc2 is not only accurate, but useful.

Concepts, janus would appear not to have grasped, at this point in time.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Janus squared I believe is shooting for Janus cubed - exponentially multiplying it's idiocy along the way.

[-] 4 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Election is over! sore loser! Get over it.

[Removed]

[+] -4 points by janus2 (-387) 2 years ago

yes, the election is over, romeny won and the fraud who didnt win is obama who will put in office.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

All your repub efforts at suppressing dem voters backfired. And repub turnout was lower than expected (and needed) because so manywere prejudiced against mormons or didn't support Mass mod Romney.

Aaaaaaaaaah ha ha ha! Whatta joke! You got smoked by all the isms your party suffers from. Ironic huh?

"Instant Karmas gonna get ya', gonna smack you right in the face" JL

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Life in the twilight zone is really weird, eh?

Care to comment on Reagan's murder of American citizens?

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Glen Beck or Rush Limbau?

[-] -1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

You’re too deep for me. All I know is 18K people are out of work because of it. I read today that a Mexican company may buy Hostess. Does that mean Snow Balls will now be made in Mexico? I don’t know who is most to blame, the Union, the management or whoever; but no one seems to give a damn about the 18K jobs. They just want to blame the other guy.

[-] 3 points by agkaiser (1314) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

To understand and solve problems you have to get below the surface. By the time I turned 65 I knew that much. My grandchildren, though they believe themselves faster than me, aren't really up to that speed yet.

My kids also fail to understand that concern for a particular set of victims is less important than bringing to light a flawed paradigm that will victimize most people eventually, if we don't dig to the root of the evil and excise it from our culture.

[-] -2 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

As an old guy, nearing seventy. I think it is flawed to think we have only two or three evils today (government, corporations and rich people). I think the root problem is society its self; a less moral and ethical people overall. That’s going to be much tougher to fix than just changing the government.

I'm one of the folks that feel we can’t fix our problems today. It’s past the point of political solutions. The liberals and conservatives hate each other so much they’d rather see the country in flames than talk to the other side. About the only way out of our mess is for a financial collapse and resulting depression. It won’t be pretty, but it’s about the only way to get people to come back to reality. I’m not looking forward to it, but I think it unavoidable. My two cents from a old geezer.

[-] 3 points by agkaiser (1314) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

Government, corporations and rich people, in ascending order of power, have controlled society and threatened the lives of ordinary people with their greed, since the beginning of civilization, as long ago as ten thousand years in places. The media and propaganda of the past 150 to 200 years have sold ordinary people on the notion that we have power and are as responsible as the masters for the devolution that threatens all of life on Earth today. We're conditioned by advertisers to desire material things and don't notice the critical difference in the scale of realized greed or the damage done.

The moral decline was noted long before Edgar Allen Poe's ironies and Mark Twain's jokes shined light on it. I first heard of it when I was in elementary school in the 1950's. I saw through that attempt to diffuse responsibility downward from the ruling classes by the time I was 15. You don't have to be old to be wise and age doesn't guarantee wisdom. The same old shit is still the same old shit.

[-] 0 points by ronniepaul2012 (214) 2 years ago

Crash and burn might be the only way to improve the awful values system and morals that the younger generation seem to embrace. America is headed towards the fall of the Roman Empire. It's truly sad that a country that has been given so much has taken it all for granted and feel entitled to more than they deserve.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22295) 2 years ago

Great post. Thanks. Someone is going to get rich off this deal and has been planning it for a long time. All under the ruse of "blame the workers."

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Let's not bitch about it, let's do something ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

[-] -1 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

Nope. Everybody loses everything. The VC's will lose their entire investment, the workers lose their jobs, and creditors get a few cents on the dollar. No upside for anybody.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 2 years ago

No. Upside for a lot of people. Who are you kidding? Read this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/nov/19/twinkies-to-survive-hostess-sale

"But with high brand recognition and $2.5bn (£1.6bn) in revenues a year, other companies are interested in bidding for at least pieces of Hostess. Twinkies alone have brought in $68m in revenue so far this year."

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

100 potential bidders for Hostess. So, yes upside for some people on the backs of others.

http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-11-29/industries/35426750_1_hostess-brands-bakers-union-potential-bidders

[-] -2 points by Shayneh (-482) 2 years ago

Nobody is going to get rich on this deal - If you haven't heard Hostess filed chapter 11 on January 2012. A deal was presented to the courts, the courts approved and the union dismissed it.

So what's going to happen is any or all monies will be disbursed and any or all money that used to be paid in pensions will be included in this disbursment - Sorry but the unions will lose -

The execs will not get anything until all secured bills are paid - whatever is left over will then be disbursed to them - should there be anything left over.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22295) 2 years ago

"Unfortunately however, for the past eight years management of the company has been in the hands of Wall Street investors, "restructuring experts", third-tier managers from other non-baking food companies and currently a "liquidation specialist".

"This is a Mitt Romney-style deal.....when workers fight back, they're targeted for blame."

And, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/11/16/hostess-brands-says-it-will-liquidate/

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1314) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

What do you think about the morality of the bankers, lawyers and investors/lenders who'll get the pension funds and other assets, as the workers get screwed with the blessing of our corrupt conservative courts?

I wonder if Hostess managed to hide assets like GM did when they split off the profitable financial arm GMAC that was essentially the bank they reinvested decades of profits in. Our corrupt [especially since Bush] Federal courts were also complicit in that con. I'm talking about the ripoff previous to the one Obama bailed.

So what do you think? Are these real smart operators to be admired or frauds to be charged and tried? Of course the corporatist courts and politicians won't take action. Should we consider extra judicial execution to protect ourselves from the parasites, whose smug and narcissistic arrogance, derived from their super legal advantage, gives them a sense of omnipotence and immortality?

[-] -2 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

The lawyers and bankers won't get the pension funds. That money is undoubtedly vested, and will survive the liquidation safe and sound.

These guys were neither smart operators nor cons. They're gamblers who tried to take a company in trouble and turn it around by buying it from the people that screwed up. They gambled, and they lost. If they hadn't taken over, it just would've gone under sooner.

You need to check your facts on GM. The GM bankruptcy was engineered primarily to benefit the UAW pension fund. The law was changed especially for them so that they'd get ahead of other creditors, and the UAW pension fund wound up being the largest shareholder in the new GM after the US government.

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1314) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

The facts are correct. You're confusing the 2005,6 episode to which I referred with the 2009 scam where the UAW and the government bailed out the investors by buying their stock. In the prior crisis, lawyers, bankers and investors got 100s of millions while workers and pensions were fleeced. The 2009 replay got what the cons missed earlier. The UAW pension fund got taken, when it and our gov bought the company from the frauds who ran GM into the ditch.

The perpetraitors {stet} got bailed and the workers and the rest of US got screwed as usual. That's the one thing you can count on in the winner take all economy that afflicts the USA and threatens life with extinction for the profit of the few. There's no honesty or sincerity in conservatives. They either won't tell the truth or can't because they're fools who believe the lies they tell themselves.

[-] -1 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

The creditors will get everything, and that will only be enough to pay them back a few percent of what they are owed. The owners will almost certainly get nothing whatsoever. The union pension funds might have some claim on proceeds from the sale of assets under certain circumstances, but that's about the only possible upside.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

$1.8 million in bonuses for Hostess executives. A great example of the abject failure of capitalism for humanity.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/29/hostess-executive-bonuses_n_2210515.html

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Another example of the Class War!

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

They won again..............................:(

http://money.cnn.com/2012/11/29/news/companies/hostess-bonuses/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

Is there still a judge out there somewhere in America that isn't already in the pocket for the 1%?

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Outrageous. No. I don't think so shooz. Thanks for the link. Pathetic.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

It's another sad day for the American worker.............:(

Bain capitol and friends are the only ones smiling.

Welcome to the corporate raiders MO.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

At least today the fast food workers were striking. We have to keep getting the word out, that workers have rights and must demand them, whatever it takes.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

They wanted a service economy and now that they have one, they need to pay the people that do the serving.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

That's right. And, they need to value the labor in terms of the laborers being human beings and not just pieces of equipment.

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Just because the millionaire CEOs and managers can move around from corporation to corporation, like ping pong balls, doesn't mean the guy's and gal's at minimum wage, low/no benefits can.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Exactly. Look, this is just obscene, totally obscene. Greed is killing this country. Workers need to stand up for themselves. There is no shame in being a worker. Workers used to be revered in this country, nowadays, they are shamed. We need a complete turnaround to our ethos and what our priorities are, as a nation, if we are going to continue as a viable society.

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Ain't that nice of them?

The fucked up part is these assholes think they deserve it.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Really freaking sick. If this country doesn't start valuing the working people soon we are going to be in big trouble. An economic system that just works for a handful of people will lead to the demise of that society. It's not really complicated.

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

You would think that selling off the bones of the most recognized bakery in America would be enough for them.

But no.

Neolibe(R)tarian greed knows no bounds.

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 2 years ago

The CEO and executives giving themselves huge raises tell employees they need to accept concessions... Absolute bullshit.

CEO gave himself a 300% raise. From 750,000 to 2,250,000

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

The Greed of the 1% we are here to fight using the best weapon we have: democracy.

This is another BEGINNING, let's use it!!

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Corpocrisy: The Systematic Betrayal of American Workers

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Free market idealists argue that capitalism works for anyone with a little initiative and a willingness to work hard. That might be true if job opportunities were available to everyone. But the facts reveal a lack of opportunity, largely because the very system of capitalism that's supposed to work for everyone is betraying its most productive members.

It's a step-by-step process of hypocrisy disguised as free enterprise:

1.) Let the public pay for the research.

Since World War 2 our federal government has played the dominant role in the research of new technologies, with an emphasis on the long-term basic research that painstakingly perfects design while not yet producing revenue. Corporate R&D, on the other hand, is heavy on the profit-making late stages of development.

Government has contributed significantly to the development of today's most modern technologies. Business has taken full advantage. Even during the frenetic growth of the 1990s, industry funding for computer research declined dramatically while government research funding continued to climb. As of 2009 universities were still receiving ten times more science & engineering funding from government than from industry.

2.) Use the publicly-funded technologies to double profits in 8 years.

From 2003 to 2011 total corporate profits more than doubled from $900 billion to almost $2 trillion.

A big part of that is the financial industry, which has adapted the (nationally built) Internet to fashion trillion-dollar trading schemes. Up until 1985 financial firms never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. Their share recently reached 41 percent.

3.) Use the recession as an excuse to cut taxes in half.

For the twenty years prior to the 2008 recession, corporations paid an average annual rate of 22.5% in federal taxes. Since then the average has been 10%.

4.) Quietly hoard all the excess money.

Anywhere from $2.2 trillion to $3.4 trillion in cash is being held by non-financial corporations, who have chosen to fatten stockholders rather than invest in new production facilities and the employees needed to make them profitable.

Once again, the financial industry leads the way. Just 12 large banks hold 69 percent of industry assets, close to $8 trillion. But they're not making their money available to consumers or small businesses. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, community banks, which hold less than one-fifth of industry assets, provide over half of all small business loans.

5.) Pay existing workers what they earned in 1970.

Less, actually. Average real wages were $17.42 in 2007, down from $19.34 in 1972 (based on 2007 dollars). Wages as a percentage of the economy, at 44% of GDP, are at an all-time low.

Jobs that remain are increasingly low-wage positions. Apple is a good example of the race to the bottom for wages, with an estimated $420,000 profit per employee and a $12 per hour pay rate for its store workers.

6.) Eliminate all the other people who helped increase productivity.

Not only are "job creators" failing to create jobs with their cash hoards, but they're also cutting jobs in order to 'streamline' their operations. Evidence comes from The Nation, Market Watch, and Business Insider.

-- Verizon, which made $38 billion in 2008-11 and paid no tax, cut 41,100 jobs.

-- AT&T, which made $9 billion in 20011 and paid no tax, cut 54,000 jobs.

-- Merck, which made $34 billion in 2008-11 and paid a 7% tax, cut 13,000 jobs.

Other leading job-cutters:

-- Citigroup, which made a $28 billion profit in 2010-11 and paid no tax.

-- Boeing, which made $15 billion in profits in 2008-11 and paid no tax.

-- IBM, which made $75 billion in profits in 2008-11 and paid less than 2% in taxes.

-- HP, which $40 billion in profits in 2008-11 and paid an 11% tax.

-- Pepsico, which made a $10 billion profit in 2011 and paid a 6.3% tax.

-- Proctor & Gamble, which made almost $60 billion in profits in 2008-11 and paid 11% in taxes.

-- Google, which avoided about $2 billion in 2011 taxes by shifting revenue to a Bermuda tax haven.

7.) Ignore the facts.

And do nothing to address the mistreatment of American workers. CEOs, Congress, and the media are all skilled at this final step of betrayal.


Paul Buchheit is the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 2 years ago

I tried to pitch Hostess on a marketing idea for one of their product lines. There would have been virtually no upfront cost and the only way I could be compensated is if the idea increased sales. There was no downside.

The executive I communicated with did not want to hear the idea.

I suggested they simply supply me with a deal memo, they could make all the terms, I either accepted them or not. lol, they still said no.

This was a over six months ago.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Not about improvement, it's about Profit.

What exactly does not make sense to you????

The Powers That Be manipulate everything.

Diligence!!!

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 2 years ago

improvement probably means more profitability, no?

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

NO, it doesn't

[-] -1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 2 years ago

Apparently, the teamsters were not willing to be flexible when it came to how product was transported to various route destinations, and the bakery union was not willing to prop up the teamsters intentional lack of optimal efficiency.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

This is an example of the greed that destroyed hostess and 18k jobs.

http://www.nationofchange.org/hostess-ceo-cuts-worker-pay-leaves-own-salary-untouched-1354637603

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

The Teamsters and Bakers killed Hostess!!!

GMAFB!!!!

[-] -1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 2 years ago

No, the bakers union did not want to front the inefficient teamsters method of placing product into food stores, a system that apparently required TWO teamsters in two separate vehicles arriving to each location.

That is why the teamsters approved the plan, but the bakers union said no.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

It's soooooo great that there are still some unions surviving in this anti-American Offshore, Slave Wage "Job Creator" toxic environment!! Isn't it?

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Financially strapped [by GOP dirty tricks] Postal Service plans to cut Saturday mail, but continue package delivery

View Photo Gallery — U.S. Postal Service through the years: In an effort to save $2 billion, the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays starting Aug. 1. Packages, however, will still be delivered six days a week.

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 3:57 PM

WASHINGTON — Saturday mail may soon go the way of the Pony Express and penny postcards. The Postal Service said Wednesday that it plans to cut back to five-day-a-week deliveries for everything except packages to stem its financial losses in a world radically re-ordered by the Internet.

“Our financial condition is urgent,” declared Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. But Congress has voted in the past to bar the idea of eliminating Saturday delivery, and his announcement immediately drew protests from some lawmakers. The plan, which is to take effect in August, also brought vigorous objections from farmers, the letter carriers’ union and others.

The U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan aimed at saving about $2 billion, the financially struggling agency says.

By one measure, we have the best postal service in the world

The bad news: The United States will have one less day of mail delivery. The good news: The USPS is arguably the best in the world at delivering letters.

The Postal Service, which suffered a $15.9 billion loss in the past budget year, said it expected to save $2 billion annually with the Saturday cutback. Mail such as letters and magazines would be affected. Delivery of packages of all sizes would continue six days a week.

The plan accentuates one of the agency’s strong points: Package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has plummeted. Email has decreased the mailing of paper letters, but online purchases have increased package shipping, forcing the Postal Service to adjust to customers’ new habits.

“Things change,” Donahoe said.

James Valentine, an antiques shop owner in Toledo, wasn’t too concerned about the news.

“The mail isn’t that important to me anymore. I don’t sit around waiting for it to come. It’s a sign of the times,” he said, adding, “It’s not like anyone writes letters anymore.”

In fact, the Postal Service has had to adapt to changing times ever since Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general by the Continental Congress in 1775. The Pony Express began in 1860, six-day delivery started in 1863, and airmail became the mode in 1918. Twice-a-day delivery was cut to one in 1950 to save money.

But change is not the biggest factor in the agency’s predicament — Congress is. The majority of the service’s red ink comes from a 2006 law forcing it to pay about $5.5 billion a year into future retiree health benefits, something no other agency does. Without that payment — $11.1 billion in a two-year installment last year — and related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion for the past fiscal year, lower than the previous year.

Congress also has stymied the service’s efforts to close some post offices in small towns.

Under the new plan, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday but would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open.

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages — and it repeatedly but unsuccessfully has appealed to Congress to approve the move. An independent agency, the service gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.

CONTINUED: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/financially-strapped-postal-service-to-cut-saturday-mail-keep-6-day-a-week-package-delivery/2013/02/06/664b921a-7057-11e2-b3f3-b263d708ca37_story.html

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Well mail will have to be delivered one way or another - at least until everyone has a computer and internet connection to pay bills. A lot of people do not have the ability to go on line to take care of business.

In the meantime loss of one mail delivery/pickup day per week? No big deal.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

"No big deal"??

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.


In an ongoing agenda to Privatize Everything, Kill Trade Unions and make us all Wage Slaves:

RepubliCons in Congress encumbered the USPS with a mandatory funding of a pension plan 75 years into the future, in a blatant attempt to kill the country's largest Trade Union (American Postal Workers Union) employer.

Postal Service Set To Default On Pension Payment For First Time, But Congress Could Easily Fix The Problem

In 2006, the Republican-led Congress passed an unnecessary law requiring the United States Postal Service to prefund its pension benefits for 75 years through a $5.5 billion annual payment. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) is the only one of its kind for a government agency. On August 1st of this year, the Post Office will likely default for the first time in its history on its 2011 pension payment. If Congress does not act, it will also default on its 2012 payment due September 30th.

The requirement has drastically harmed the functions of the agency, which is used by almost every American. In July, USPS began closing offices around the country to meet the annual payment. By the time current downsizing plans are completed in 2014, Americans will see 229 processing plants closed and 28,000 jobs lost. In June, ten USPS employees launched a multi-day hunger strike to protest the cuts.

Without the pension payment, USPS would have a $1.5 billion surplus instead of a $20 billion shortfall. “[T]hese ongoing liquidity issues unnecessarily undermine confidence in the viability of the Postal Service among our customers,” said USPS spokesman David Partenheimer.

Postal Service cuts also threaten to increase economic inequality. A Reuters analysis released in February found that America’s poorest communities “stand to suffer most if the struggling agency moves ahead with plans to shutter thousands of post offices.”

A vast majority of postal offices under consideration for closure are located in rural areas, where poverty rates are higher than the national average. Nearly 90 percent of Americans without broadband access live in rural areas, making USPS cuts especially harmful to the pocketbooks of rural Americans.

Congressional Republicans have consistently pushed to downsize USPS. In 2011, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced legislation that would end to-the-door mail delivery and put USPS under a control board, moves which would lead to more layoffs and bust postal service unions. Such proposed “fixes” are a thinly-veiled Republican ploy to use the unnecessary PAEA requirement to attack public sector employment.

In April, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to stretch the pension payments over only 40 years, reducing the annual payment to $2.5 billion. The bill would also return $11 billion to USPS that was overpaid into one of its pension funds. “The longer the House delays consideration of the bill, the longer the uncertainty about the Postal Service’s financial future remains,” said Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who co-sponsored the Senate bill. “This is irresponsible and unfair.”

The House is currently preparing to leave for its August recess, making action to prevent a USPS default unlikely.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/07/19/546851/postal-service-default-congres/

Will House Republicans Let The Post Office Save Itself This Year?

By Pat Garofalo on Jan 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm

The United States Postal Service last year defaulted on a payment into its pension fund for the first time in its history. It then defaulted on a second payment later in the year, while posting record losses.

The Postal Service is in such dire financial straits because, unlike any other agency or private business, it is required by Congress to pre-fund 75 years worth of pension benefits. So USPS is paying for the pensions of employees it has not even hired yet. And while Congress could easily fix the problem, House Republicans last year couldn’t even bother to bring the matter up for a vote:

The old Congress, bogged down by disagreements between lawmakers from rural and urban districts and distracted by fiscal policy fights, has not been able to agree on legislation to overhaul the struggling agency.

A bipartisan bill that passed the Democratic-led Senate last year would have ended Saturday mail delivery and eased its benefit payment obligations.

But the Republican-led House of Representatives, which had advocated for aggressive post office closures, never voted on a postal bill.

Last year, Congress managed to rename 60 post office branches, while doing nothing to alleviate the USPS’ nonsensical requirements. Meanwhile, the alternative solution — closing post office branches — hits America’s poorest communities the most.

This is more of the RepubliCon anti-Trade Union war on collective bargaining and organized labor, and another battle on the Employment Front of the Class War waged by the 1% owners of the GOP against the 99%!!

"This a BIG FUCKING DEAL!!!" -Joe

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Propelled By ALEC, ‘Right-to-Work’ Assault on Unions Reaches Pennsylvania

By Bruce Vail | Friday Feb 1, 2013 11:27 am

Pennsylvania labor is primed for the fight: An April 11, 2011 Teamsters rally against previous right-to-work legislation drew some 400 protestors to the state Capitol. (The Rick Smith Show / Flickr / Creative Commons)

Backed by powerful national business interests, conservative legislators in Pennsylvania announced last week a new push to bring so-called “right-to-work” laws to the Keystone state. State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe said January 22 that he and five other Republican legislators would introduce a package of bills aimed at crippling the ability of labor unions to collect dues from members.

Pennsylvania labor leaders say the package is part of a broad assault on labor that began in 2010 when the GOP won control of the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature.

It's no coincidence that the proposal comes hard on the heels of similar legislation in Michigan, says staff attorney Brendan Fischer of the Madison, Wisc.-based Center for Media and Democracy. According to a new report by Fischer, the Pennsylvania effort is part of a nationwide campaign against unions by rightwing business groups such as the David Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party organization FreedomWorks. Fischer identified a January announcement from FreedomWorks asking supporters to back a 2013 campaign to de-fund unions, and linked that campaign to a report that specifically named Pennsylvania as a target.

“This looks a lot like a march from state to state to attack unions that support progressive causes and progressive politicians,” says Fischer, citing similar anti-union efforts over the last two years in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. All of these attacks can be linked back to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, he says, a business-funded group supporting anti-worker initiatives nationwide. Legislative language in the Michigan and Pennsylvania anti-union bills are strikingly similar to ALEC's own model right-to-work bill, he notes, and Metcalfe has well-documented ties to the group.

Pennsylvania labor leaders are not panicking, however, at signs they are being targeted by well-funded national organizations. “We’ve canvassed all the [state legislators] on both sides of the aisle and we feel pretty good,” says Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale. He believes that Metcalfe’s package is firmly opposed by both Democrats and union-friendly Republicans.

“Given what happened in Michigan, we have to be on guard. But in the past we have been able to block proposals like this. I think right-to-work [legislation] has been introduced every year for the past 30 years, and we’ve always been able to block it,” Bloomingdale tells Working In These Times.

“It’s got no legs” to move forward in the state house, agrees Wendell Young IV, president of Local 1776 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. Pennsylvania unions have worked amicably with a bloc of Republican legislators for years, he explains, and these relationships don’t show any signs of being overturned now.

“The ALEC folks are definitely active here....so there is always a concern,” Young continues. Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai “is the main waterboy for ALEC in Pennsylvania," the union chief says, but has not proven to be especially effective at advancing ALEC's agenda in his two years as party leader. “Turzai made himself famous around the country when he was caught on video bragging about how Pennsylvania’s voter ID law meant that Mitt Romney would win the state [in 2012]," Young says. “Well, we all know now that he was wrong about a couple of things. The voter ID was blocked, and Obama won the state with a strong majority.”

Between fighting Corbett’s many threats to privatize public services over the last two years and mobilizing voters for the 2012 presidential election, unions in Pennsylvania are well-organized to take on a right-to-work fight, Bloomingdale adds. Most recently, UFCW has been battling with Turzai and Gov. Tom Corbett over their plans to privatize the state liquor distribution system, which would eliminate the jobs of some 5,000 state workers, including members of UFCW.

“Corbett has said if the legislature passes right to work, then he will sign it. We take him at his word. So we have to kill it in the [Pennsylvania] house or senate,” Bloomingdale says. "We would win if the vote were held tomorrow, but we have to stay on top of this. [Americans for Prosperity is] ‘black money’ and you never want to underestimate what that kind of money can do."

“None of this happens in a vacuum,” concludes UFCW’s Young. “Corbett’s poll numbers are not very good right now. I don’t think he is looking to kick a million union voters in the teeth” by pushing additional anti-union efforts now.

http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/14516/right-to-work_assault_on_unions_shifts_to_pennsylvania_legislature/

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Isn't it amazing how few people around here pay attention to this stuff?

I posted this fact the other day, and not a single response, yet the gun nuttery has slowed down but a smidgeon.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

The Class War waged by the 1% has many fronts!!

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

The evil works of ALEC are being downplayed by some posters around here.

I find that amazingly misplaced, if not disengenuos.......

Speaking euphemistically of course.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

There really are overt and covert RepubliCon "campaigners" here.

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Not sure just what they are campaigning for, but it isn't the 99%.

One of them keeps proudly referring to them as asses.

I think I know who the real mule is.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

To say the least, it isn't We the People.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Twinkie CEO Admits Company Took Employees Pensions and Put It Toward Executive Pay

Hostess company continues to screw over its workers.

December 11, 2012 |

Twinkie-maker Hostess continues to screw over its workers. The company is in the process of complete liquidation and 18,000 unionized workers are set to lose their jobs. More troubling – they could lose their pensions.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Hostess’ CEO, Gregory Rayburn, essentially admitted that his company stole employee pension money and put it toward CEO and senior executive pay (aka “operations”). While this isn't technically illegal, it's another sleazy theft by Hostess executives - who've paid themselves handsomely while running their company into the ground. Just last month, a judge agreed to let Hostess executives suck another $1.8 million out of the bankrupt company to pay bonuses to CEOs.

If there's no way to recover the money for the Hostess pension plans for workers, then the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. will have to foot the bill to make sure workers get at least some of the retirement money they paid in.

Hostess shows us clearly what Bain-style predatory capitalism is all about: big bucks for the very few rich executives, layoffs and poverty for the workers and their communities.

And don’t mourn the loss of Hostess brands – they’ll be back, as the company is currently negotiating with over 100 potential buyers right now to bring Twinkies, Wonder Bread, and Ding Dongs back into the marketplace.

The Hostess story has nothing to do with unions, and everything to do with the Enron-ization and Bain-ization of the American economy.

In classic Enron style, back in 2005 Hostess sent out a letter saying they’d just had a very, very profitable quarter. Their stock jumped up. The CEO, Charles Sullivan, and many of the senior executives sold chunks of their stock. The CEO and senior executives were making out big, and the workers were making a decent living.

At that time, one of the hostess workers – Mike Hummel, blogging as bluebarnstormer over at Daily Kos – noted that he was making $48,000 a year, a bit over the US median household income, and had insurance and a pension.

Then, a few weeks later in 2005, came the letter saying that, oops, all of that profit had really been just an accounting error – the company was actually in trouble. Although the CEO and the top guys had all made a nice killing selling the stock when it was high, and paying a maximum income tax on it of 15 percent because they used the Capital Gains loophole that Mitt Romney used to become a multimillionaire, they now wanted the workers to take a big pay cut.

Hummel notes that the “oops” letter became the justification for asking the workers to take a pay cut, which they agreed to, and his pay dropped from $48,000 a year in 2005 to $38,000 a year last year. But every year, $3 an hour of his compensation showed up in the worker’s pension fund instead of his paycheck. Year after year. With 18,000-plus workers, it was millions and millions of dollars. Dollars that the workers had paid in, at the rate of $3 per hour.

Then came the Bain-style takedown. In order to strip the company down to its individual brands and sell them off, piece by piece, the company needed to bust the union. The union said, “No,” so the company went to bankruptcy court – a method Bain and other vulture capitalists often use to kill off unions.

In the meantime, the CEO and senior executives were paying themselves handsome salaries and big bonuses. And where was that money coming from?

On August 12 of 2011, the employees got a letter that said that the company was going to “temporarily suspend payments” to its pension funds. That would be the $3 per hour that this worker had negotiated as part of his compensation – instead of paying it to him by putting it into his pension fund now, the company said they were going to put it in later.

As the letter said, “I want to be clear that this temporary suspension of payments to the pension fund will not affect your pension benefits.”

Workers believed management, and kept on working.

But, it turned out, as we learned from that interview in today’s Wall Street Journal, that the senior management wasn’t just “borrowing” the pension funds – they were using them to fund ongoing operations. Including big paychecks to the fatcats.

Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t around when that particular thing happened. "Whatever the circumstances were, whatever those decisions were, I wasn't there," Rayburn told the Wall Street Journal. After all, Rayburn isn’t a baker – he’s a bankster. He’s the owner of Kobi Partners, a company that tells corporations how to “restructure.” Think Mitt Romney. And he’s going to make out very well on all this – the bankruptcy court just okayed $1.8 million in Christmas bonuses for the new fatcats at Hostess.

Ironically, if you borrow money to pay for your education, you can’t get rid of that debt through bankruptcy – one of the “reforms” of the bankruptcy law during the Bush era. But if you’re a CEO or a buyout bankster and you borrow money from your employees’ trust fund to be able to cover your own paycheck and million-dollar bonuses, and then take your company into bankruptcy, neither you nor the company have to pay those employees back even a single penny. Part of their pension is picked up by federally-run pension insurance, and the rest is just lost.

There used to be a time in America when businesspeople had at least a modicum of ethics. Mostly it was because the majority of businesses were small- or medium-sized and locally owned, so the owners and managers had to look the employees in the eye. Or the unions were strong enough to keep the CEOs honest.

Reagan put an end to all that when he stopped enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, wiping out most of America’s small and medium-sized businesses, and when he kicked off the modern war on unions by firing the PATCO union strikers. You can see the result most clearly at any shopping mall or any downtown in America. What used to be locally owned business are now big chains, from food to jewelry to clothing.

It used to be that CEOs shared the pain. Lee Iacocca famously took a dollar a year as pay when he was working to turn around Chrysler. Steve Jobs did the same when Apple was in trouble. Pretty much everybody who’s ever started a small business knows what it’s like to make payroll for workers while taking little to nothing themselves during the early years of the company.

But in today’s post-Reagan, Bain-model American capitalism, there’s never any risk for the CEO class. Instead, all the risk is borne by the workers.

Karl Marx famously wrote that capitalism contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. If true, the young, green shoots of that destruction may well be the corporate and billionaire excesses, ranging from the Hostess debacle to the billionaire oligarch Koch Brothers funding anti-union efforts by Rick Snyder and Republicans in Michigan.

This article originally stated that taxpayers would have had to foot the bill for the lost pension funds through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), but in fact PBGC does not receive taxpayer funds on an annual basis. It has been corrected to say that the PBGC will pay out a portion of the lost pension funds, and that the rest of the missing funds will not be recovered by the workers.

Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is The Thom Hartmann Reader.

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

You might want to read the comments of the leadership of the teamsters union. They seem to disagree with you.

[-] 2 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Democracy is messy.

Greed has a single goal.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Shh, I'm supposed to be doing something else.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

It's called a "googlewhack" when there is only one result.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

"googlewhack" eh. I suppose I've had quite a few over the past decade.

A Googlewhack is a type of contest for finding a Google search query consisting of exactly two words without quotation marks, that returns exactly one hit. A Googlewhack must consist of two actual words found in a dictionary. A Googlewhack is considered legitimate if both of the searched-for words appear in the result page.

Published googlewhacks are short-lived, since when published to a web site, the new number of hits will become at least two, one to the original hit found, and one to the publishing site.[1]

Fleeting!

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

I would like to use your phrase quote in an article for my DailyPUMA blog (which I do for free). Would you like to be credited, and if so, how would you like to be credited?

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

Well, technically yours was the phrase that pays using common everyday words, I think it still counts.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Googled some others like "Hillbilly Taliban" but they have been co-opted, and/or the sites expired.

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

yes, the teamsters wanted to sign the contract because they apparently were one of key unions that was unwilling to make their union more cost effective.

The bakers union, that was probably more efficient, DECLINED to the latest negotiations probably because they felt they were propping up the teamsters.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Going postal, yea verily | Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The USPS has announced the end of Saturday mail delivery starting in August. It's not clear that they can legally do this, since Congress has oversight of the Constitutionally mandated service, and they haven't approved such a move. The Republicans are loving it, so you know this is bad national policy on its face. The simple fact is that the Republicans want to destroy the postal unions and privatize still more of the public infrastructure.

The financial problems the Postal Service have were entirely manufactured by the Republican lame duck Congress in 2006 when they mandated 75 years worth of pension and medical benefits to be paid in just 10 years. Workers that are yet to be born are having their retirements paid for, otherwise the semi-autonomous agency would have been averaging a more than 2 billion dollar annual surplus.

The big lie is that the PO is suffering from lack of volume, they are still moving more mail than 25 years ago when they were making money. People who study these things aren't predicting volume to decrease by any substantial amount from this point. Some things simply need to physically delivered, why do you think the Republicans want to privatize it? Do you think they intend to lose money? Do you know where the big commission is for a car salesman? It's not from selling you a new car, it's from 'stealing' your trade-in (that's what they call it at the dealership, 'stealing'). The Republicans are telling you how bad your 'used' Post Office is, but they'll take it off your hands. You'll soon be driving a shiny new lemon you can't afford to buy stamps for.

Another lie is that Postal Service has a high cost of operations, in fact postage in the US is far lower than the rest of the world. Postage rates are set by a commission, but the Congressional restrictions on increases are making it impossible for the rates to be set properly.

There is a long list of goods and services that Post Offices could sell that would be beneficial to the public and make money, but Congress restricts what they can do by law. Privatized mail delivery would eventually mean no delivery in rural areas or even in so-called urban areas. We've got to run it like a 'business', don't you know.

Laying off the carriers who do Saturday deliveries, who are mostly part-time employees, will in theory save $2 billion. It will also create a $2 billion hole in the economy for no good reason and make life more difficult for the average citizen. There is a reason they put the Postal Service in the Constitution. Originally the framers wanted to encourage newspaper delivery as well as commerce, but it's already to the point where a newspaper can take two days to arrive, and weekly 'news' magazines are more like historical journals by the time they get to your mailbox. Further cuts are simply going to make that worse and bring the system crashing down.

If the Republicans get their way we will return to a period before the Constitution when there was no Postal Service. But that would be consistent with their goal of making everything 'pre-Constitutional', and 'pre-Manga Carta' for that matter. Habeas Corpus? 'Nay, I thinketh not'. Those English Common Law concepts in our legal system need to go too, those are so 400 AD. - Leviticus though, that's a keeper. Stoning for everything and we mean everything. Except witchcraft, then only burning will do. We are Republicans, and we know with certainty that a witch is heavier than a wooden duck. Yea verily. www.prairie2.com

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Congress — not email — destroyed the Postal Service

The oft-maligned U.S. mail is actually quite well-run. Politicians steered it into the ditch [RepubliCon ones, the same ones who drove the country into a ditch!!]

By John Tierney | Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013 03:32 PM PST

Topics: U.S. Postal Service, Saturday mail, News Congress -- not email -- destroyed the Postal ServiceU. S. Post Office letter carrier Tim Bell delivers the mail during a snow storm in Havertown, Pa. (Credit: AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

You know that feeling of pleasure you get when you see someone stand up to a bullying, incompetent boss? It’s viscerally satisfying, isn’t it?

That’s the way I felt this morning when I heard Postmaster General Patrick Donahue announce that the U.S. Postal Service intended to move forward with a plan to stop Saturday delivery of mail, effective sometime in August. In doing so, Donahue stuck his thumb in the eye of the U.S. Congress, the mail agency’s ultimate boss. Bravo, Mr. Donahue.

You may think I have incorrectly identified the incompetent party here. After all, it’s a deeply ingrained part of Americans’ worldview that our postal service is the epitome of inefficiency and bad management, the perfect example of a bungling, poorly run government bureaucracy. That view gets reinforced from all kinds of sources – jaded journalists, editorial cartoonists given more to clichés than to cleverness, free-market economists, and others.

And it’s certainly true that the Postal Service faces serious problems. Mail volume is falling. The organization’s annual deficits are rising. The postal system is slowly circling the drain. If you pay any attention to postal issues, you’re familiar with some of the proximate causes of these problems: Email is eroding first-class mail volume; Congress forces the Postal Service to prefund retirement benefits for employees it hasn’t even hired yet; etc.

But the deeper source of the Postal Services woes is the U.S. Congress, not some imagined incompetence on the part of its managers and executives. In fact, the Postal Service is quite well managed and operates as efficiently and effectively as we have any right to expect, given the constraints we have imposed on it. And the main constraint is political: We have allowed the U.S. Congress to control the agency, and for decades – centuries, really – Congress has dictated that the Postal Service operate in ways that are politically useful for members of Congress even though they make no economic sense. In the process, our elected representatives have steered the agency into a ditch.

Back in 1970, Congress dealt with the postal crises of that era by transforming the governing arrangements of the postal system, changing it from an old-line Cabinet department to a quasi-independent government enterprise that would supposedly be free to operate in a more “business-like” fashion, freed of the political constraints under which it had operated since the days of Benjamin Franklin.

But, of course, Congress was preternaturally incapable of keeping its paws off the Postal Service, essentially insisting on maintaining ultimate political control over all important decisions of postal policy.

For decades, postal executives, looking ahead at trend lines that portended financial ruin, have tried to take steps that would put the mail system on a more sustainable footing. They’ve tried, for example, to pare down the enormous network of tens of thousands of post offices. But when they try to shut down costly, inefficient little post offices at rural crossroads, the local congressperson rises up in indignation, a defender of the local community’s “heartbeat.”

In the past, when the Postal Service has proposed eliminating Saturday delivery, Congress has quickly stepped in to stay its hand. Even though opinion polls have consistently shown, for at least 30 years, that in excess of 70 percent of the American people would prefer to lose Saturday mail delivery if keeping it would mean faster increases in postal rates (or the demise of the Postal Service), Congress bows down before the power of the National Association of Letter Carriers and other politically influential constituencies (like drug delivery companies and weekly newspapers) that want Saturday delivery.

So, we see in the case of the Postal Service an example of the larger problem of American democracy: Members of Congress are so fixated on getting reelected that rather than serving the will of broad popular majorities, they pay attention to, and heed the wishes of, well-organized interest groups that represent tiny minorities of the population.

This is true across the board, on issues as diverse as gun control, farm subsidies and postal services. To put it baldly, Congress is full of cowards – politicians whose calculus is based on the intensity factor: They cravenly give in to those constituencies or groups that care most intensely about a policy (usually those who benefit from it), and blithely impose costs on the broader public whose members are less attentive or aware of how they’re being screwed.

So, when I see Postmaster General Donahue hold a press conference to announce that he intends to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, I cheer him on. He’s aware that he probably doesn’t have the legal authority to take this step without congressional approval. He probably wanted to stir up a fuss and get the public engaged on all this. After all, efforts to fix the Postal Service’s main problems have been kicking around Capitol Hill for many months, with the House of Representatives failing to take any action.

What the postmaster general did today is try to change the “scope of the conflict” over postal policy. He knows that if he expands the audience for the coming conflict over policy – something he surely achieved by his announcement today – he improves the odds of his winning. The underdog or expected loser in a political fight is always wise to try to expand the audience in the hope of changing the result.

He’s not likely to win on this. Congress will probably do what it has done on countless other matters of postal policy; it will step in and say “no,” its members all the while claiming that they’re really looking out for the “public interest” here. Don’t you be fooled by it. They’ll be looking out for their own interest and that of politically influential organizations like the letter carriers. And the Postal Service will go down the drain.

http://www.salon.com/2013/02/06/congress_not_email_destroyed_the_postal_service/

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Once again, Hostess has led the way.

"We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike" May 2, 1933 Adolf Hitler

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Hostess: An epitaph.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13013-a-death-in-the-family-and-the-question-is-whodunit

And an example of Wallstreet malfeasance.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

I just ate one T (from my souvenir stash) and it was strangely good and bad.

Not anything like it!!

[-] -2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Like finding a full flavored Creamsicle, it's a good reason to visit the Great White North.............................:)

http://www.geekosystem.com/canadian-twinkies/

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

TG, but how sick.

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

There's lots of stuff in Canada that still tastes like it did when you were a kid.

They have strong content regulations.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Perhaps some of my old friends are still there from Nam.

Hostess Cupcakes??

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Go visit and find out.

More stuff still tastes good in Canada...........:)

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Maple syrple?

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Yep and national health care, and a living wage.

Imagine that.

They didn't suddenly become Stalinists.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Who said they, Canada, did, beyond the T-Potties?

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

FLAKESnews, Drudge report, Reason magazine, Rush Limbaugh, CATO, American Crossroads, The Mackinaw Foundation, The Koch Foundation, etc, etc.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

What is soooo funny and I think very true, no one on the left ever bothers with the nutbaggerie of the right. But they can't fucking leave us alone to save their lives!!!

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

I for one, have become relentless after years of listing to the bullshit from the "right".

Lord knows I've taken my fair share of guff, here on the forum.

Regardless, I will continue.

I've caught 3 posting from the John Birch Society.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8719) 1 year ago

Man, you said it! I've had Thirty Years of hearing this crap, this propoganda coming relentlessly out of the right, and I'm sick of it! Everything they say is sound and fury, signifing nothing!!!

Underneath it all, I have to say that I am mad, I am really angry. It is these people who have been relentlessly pushing this class system on us for all these years. Those who are more enlightened have wanted no part of it! . . . But if they are going to push it then look out because we are going to push back relentlessly, and they are damn well going to be shut up and go where they belong, to the back of the fucking class wearing the dune cap! I'm Fed Up!

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Yes.

We have been over this before (glad ur back, BTW), now we have to do something.

They (the 1% and their GOP) are very busy. They went after states, while we were defending the fed. Giving them control of a significant amount of states. Right after the election they commenced closing down Progressive Radio (Portland, Seattle next month, Denver soon, etc.) no Progressive Radio on coast to liberal coast. Giving them even less opposition to their 24/7/365/every city RW Hate & Lie radio, an entire network of dedicated RW propaganda- Fox Lies, and ownership of MSM.

Let's use the momentum from our small bullet-dodging victory to take action, PRO-ACTIVE, TOGETHER, UNITED! Let's do it this time!

This is a new beginning!

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

But gosh.

Now they are screaming for bi-partisanship, and FLAKESnews and Limbaugh haven't let up one iota.

I don't recall them asking for bipartisanship during the Bush administration..........quite the opposite..........They were still calling the left all kinds of names.

They should be wearing the dunce cap, but Murdock is still in the running for more major US news outlets, in spite of what he's done in England.

He should be a pariah.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

The Koch Bros are the sons of the JBS!!!

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

One guy here had the nerve to say posting on Koch activities was merely gossip.

But don't worry, if Obama farts there will umpteen threads on it..

[-] -1 points by clamor (-40) from Hopatcong, NJ 2 years ago

Hostess: Union Rules were Harder to Digest than Twinkies

Did union workers simply get their ‘Just Desserts’ for backing Hostess into a corner with too many unreasonable demands? Consider the evidence.

Union workers have now completed their mission. 18,500 jobs are gone forever.

The national labor bosses stood firm. Labor leaders are proud they stood up to those nasty ‘suits’ [see Entourage for definition] who refused to run a money-losing business simply to continue paying salaries and benefits.

Hostess posted a $341 million loss in 2011 on revenues of about $2.5 billion. Contributing to those 2011 losses:

  • $52 million in Workers’ Comp Claims
  • Dealing with 372 Distinct Collective-Bargaining Contracts
  • Administration of 80 Separate Health and Benefits Plans
  • Funding and Tending to 40 Discrete Pension Plans
  • $31 million in year-over-year increases in wages and health care benefits for 2012 v. 2011

Uncounted in the above numbers were the outrageous union-imposed rules that made for a too-high-to-bear cost of sales:

  • No truck could carry both bread and snacks even when going to the same location
  • Drivers were not permitted to load their own trucks
  • Workers who loaded bread were not allowed to also load snacks
  • Bringing products from back rooms to shelves required another set of union employees
  • Multi-Employer pension obligations made Hostess liable for other, previously bankrupted, retirement plan contributions from employees that never worked for Hostess at all

America has come to this. The only defense against insane union demands is the willingness to walk away and close shop.

With General Motors and Chrysler we found that even that remedy wouldn’t work.

http://www.marketshadows.com/2012/11/22/hostess-union-rules-were-harder-to-digest-than-twinkies/

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

How dare these filthy laborers make demands!

The Job Creators at Hostess have made billions poisoning the world and cheating their employees, where is the respect?!

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

The Wall street journal posted a statistic that the teamsters union was the most inefficient aspect to the company's bottom line.

Even though they agreed to a pay cut, they probably were unwilling to change the way they conducted their operations, which apparently was not cost effective enough for the company to survive.

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

Kicking the can down the road is not corrupt if there is a plan to fix things being formulated. The diverted money apparently was going to pay everybody's salaries and bills.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Bullshit! The mgmt is corrupt. They mismanaged the company and raided the workers benefits, & pay to engorge themselves.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

What percentage was corporate pay compared to the entire company's annual budget? Unless the Corporate budget was over 10%, it's hard to pin the entire blame on them.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

I believe it was more than that. But regardless, it ain't "hard to pin" the failure on mgmt at all.

They always take credit when things go well. Then they are super irreplaceable genius' who deserve company crippling, obscenely high compensation. Why would it be 'hard to pin' the failure on them?

They did it.!

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

My problem with Progressive media is they hide numbers that may be relevant if it weakens their position, but are first to flaunt numbers that favor their position.

Who else does that, oh yes, the neo cons.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

What does media (progressive, or neo con) matter.

You wanted to know the percent I gave you my understanding.

So what do you gotta say about that?

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

I'm just explaining how polarization and gridlock occurs. Find the percentage of income that goes directly to the executives and then we can compare that with other companies.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

I don't see the need to compare the exec compensation with other corps.

Obviously we'll find some better, some worse, of those some will be failing, some not.

These Hostess execs gave themselves huge obscene pay raises (in the middle of market downturns), & asked the bankruptcy judge for huge obscene bonuses, while workers have been forced to take pay cuts, benefit cuts, and still blamed for the clear mismanagement of the business in a changing market.

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

But to have the proper perspective, one has to compare the company's gross income to executive bonuses, and then, compare gross payroll of the executives versus total employee payroll as well.

People in the know, know what these ratios are, I don't. I would guess that company executives in total should not be making more than 10% of what the company's employees get paid in total.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Wait as long as you like. the reality will not change.

Dumdi dum di dum.

LOL

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Is that why YOU haven't presented numbers or info?

'Cause you wanna defend the thieving execs who stole the workers pension, extracted concessions from the unions and enriched themselves while they drove the company into the ground.

Polarize much?

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

You appear to have been polarized, I am waiting for numbers before I judge.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

You can't provide numbers refuting my contention or supporting yours.

I already sent you info Do you have evidence to refute what I showed you. Or evidence that what you contend is accurate.? NO.

Cause you are wrong?

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

You didn't show numbers, ratios or percentages, that is all that matters.

It is somewhat simple for a newspaper to put out misleading stories. If a company can stay afloat longer by divering money that is supposed to go to the pension fund, they are going to pay everybody with the raided money, therefore, they can be accused of stealing pension money to pay themselves when in actuality they used it to keep the company afloat in hopes that ALL the unions would agree to a new deal, which did not happen.

That's why we need to see actual numbers. This is the number one trick that progressives pull, they only show numbers when they are obviously in their favor.

Conservatives probably do it to, moderates from both parties don't play that polarizing game.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

I already did. Do you have evidence to refute what I showed you. Or evidence that what you contend is accurate.? NO.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

Where are these numbers? They have to show how they relate to the yearly operating budget.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Mgmt was responsible for the downfall, unions made concessions several times. Execs NEVER did. They only continued to gorge and enrich themselves using money that belonged to the workers.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

Show me the numbers to prove that point.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Oh well. I can only offer honest info, If you don't want to face the truth that's your choice.

Peace, Good luck in all your good efforts.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 1 year ago

it's not honest if it doesn't offer numbers. Those are skewed articles. Why should corporate simply divert money from the pension fund only to the workers if it means they don't get paid?

There were moves Hostess could have made to keep them solvent that were dependent on the teamsters allowing new rules to be written, once they appear to not be receptive to rule changes to increase profitability, then it's everybody for themselves until the end, no?

[-] 2 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, under legal siege for massive corruption, besides being CEO of RepubliCon TV, Fox Lies!!!!

WTF!?

[-] -1 points by WiccanRevolutionary (63) from South Charleston, OH 2 years ago

Solidarity with the union!

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

And begin the fight anew!

[-] -2 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Michael Douglas / Gordon Gekko - Needs to make a series of public service ads - Ads which say that Greed is Bad that Greed is a destroyer.

How sick to think - that this creep/scum/lowlife character from a movie has been adopted as a hero.

How sick is society - when greed is promoted as good?

Gordon Gekko = Bernie Madoff = Enron = Goldman sucks = AIG = People being put out into the streets = The poisoning destruction of the environment = Economic meltdown "world wide"

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Uh... yahea...and shit...

[-] -2 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

One public service announcement could have M Douglas looking into the camera and asking - are you People insane? - What in the world would make you recognize Gordon as a Hero a Role Model? - Seriously Folks Are You Insane? - Greed Kills - Greed Destroys - Have you not taken a good look at the World around you? WTFU!!!!!!!

[-] -2 points by Saesneg (-166) from Linwood, NJ 2 years ago

Bloomberg is loving this - here in the West our women have grown far too fat.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Twinkies are Forever

The 'pirate' equity company (or as Romney pronounces it 'private' equity company) that owns the Hostess brands has asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to liquidate the company after workers refused to take yet another 30% cut in pay. The corporate media played this all up as being the fault of the unions of course.

The fact is that a company like this makes money hand over fist, and a succession of men like Mitt Romney simply carried all the money off. Purchased with nothing but debt, that was transferred in full to the company, as per the usual manner of such pirates. So began the process has made untold millions for the men in pin striped suits. This sort of thing was completely illegal until Ronald Reagan de-criminalized it, Letters of Marque as were: "The bearer may upon his discretion take all property of the enemy (the American people in this case) and suffer no penalty under the law. May God bless you and all the officers of your enterprise, and reward you handsomely. (and sniff, don't forget my cut)".

The pension plan alone was worth on the order of $2 billion, it's now in a pirate's chest buried in the Cayman Islands. The workers are down to the point where losing their jobs is not important anymore. If an actual baking company buys the assets it's possible they will be better off. This isn't the kind of operation you can move to China.

As for getting your Twinkies fix, fear not. During the height of the Cold War, a sprawling complex of caves in Missouri were filled with enough creamy treats to see the nation through decades of no food production that would be caused by the fallout. It's only been 50 years, that leaves another 950 years until the expiration date is reached. The expiration estimate is purely hypothetical, no laboratory technique was ever developed to simulate aging on package Twinkies. It's too bad Democracy isn't so enduring. http://www.prairie2.com/

[-] -1 points by Saesneg (-166) from Linwood, NJ 2 years ago

That's well written, but we are not blind to the robber barons.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Oh yes we are!!

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[-] -3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

GE was the firm that bailed them out after their first bankruptcy in 2004.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Did the owners sell their estates to save their business?

[-] -3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I doubt it. Selling estates isnt going to save a failing business. Like this country, its insolvent.

[-] 2 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Just not that into her, eh?

[-] -2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Ya, a failing economy is great....jeez....

It this point almost ANY plan would be better than no plan, the uncertainty is killing business at all levels, except for the very big guys.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

The Bigs are doing great, record profits. This "uncertainty" is pure fraud!

This is a Hostage and Sabotage Constitutional Crisis!!

They are usurping the will of the People and their chosen government!!

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

Small business is faced with great uncertainty right now, and its very real.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

The Bigs have turned the money spigots to off. Massive malfeasance!!

Nationalize their America and democracy hating asses!!

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Defense of the corp 1% oligarchs who mismanaged the business. Surprise surprise. The Execs should be penalized for their incompetence! Not rewarded by the courts with massively obscene bonuses as the corrupt execs are asking for.

[+] -4 points by janus2 (-387) 2 years ago

daily kos, soros organization. this has nothing to with romney, the unions killed hostess.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

This might help you understand the workers are not guilty, It's the greedy do nothing corp execs who killind the golden (creme filled cake) goose.

http://www.nationofchange.org/hostess-blames-union-bankruptcy-after-tripling-ceo-s-pay-1353255416

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[-] 2 points by WSmith (1375) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Gag me with a spoon?

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (641) 2 years ago

Executive pay for companies like this should be LESS than for those who actually grow a company from the ground floor up.

I would be curious to know what they were making.