The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union has been protesting a lockout by North Dakota/Minnesota-based American Crystal Sugar. The union members have been protesting ACS for some time now, shouting racial slurs at replacement workers and staging protests aimed at raising sympathy for their cause.
And many in the media, and in the halls of political power, were sympathetic. But the baker’s union just proved, in their standoff with Hostess, that American Crystal was right to resist caving in to their demands.
Hostess, which makes famous treats like Twinkies, is shutting down because their union chose to strike, putting them out of business. Due to the uncompromising greed of this union, those jobs are now lost.
American Crystal was right not to go down that path with the union.
We need to remember that the relationship between labor and capital is supposed to be voluntary, from both perspectives, and mutually beneficial. The company, be it ACS or Hostess, shouldn’t be locked into a suicide pack with the union. If the union makes unreasonable demands, the company should be able to reject them and negotiate with another group of workers.
But that’s not how the union behaves. They carry on as if they are entitled to those jobs, and nobody else. In any other context it might be called racketeering. But whatever we might call it, we need to support the right of businesses to defend themselves from unreasonable labor demands.