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Throughout this long and difficult process, BCTGM members showed tremendous courage, solidarity and devotion to principle. They were well aware of the potential consequences of their actions but stood strong for dignity, justice and respect.
Eighteen thousand Americans are now without jobs to put bread on their tables (pun intended). Yet, Frank Hurt will not be hurt in the least by the strike he led his members into taking, or the resulting unemployment of both his members, as well as other Hostess employees.
As with most union bosses, Hurt and the rest of the officers at the Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers (BTCGM) have themselves covered with six-figure salaries, their own fully-funded pension plan, as well their own benefit plan.
While Hostess employees now face unemployment, Frank Hurt doesn’t get hurt at all. He gets to walk away with his six-figure salary, his benefits intact, and a fully funded pension plan still intact–because it’s all paid for by his union’s members.
This is why Hurt’s statement is so outrageously
calloused hurtful as he (and his union) knew the likely outcome of their strike would be the unemployment lines, and the union boss himself had encouraged the strike:
Bakery union President Frank Hurt has come out against the proposal.
“I would never sign this piece of crap,” he wrote in a union publication a few weeks back, speaking of the Hostess labor proposal.
The hard line taken by Hurt, as expected, is not sitting well with everyone at the negotiating table.
“It’s irresponsible,” said one source close to the Chapter 11 reorganization, alluding to Hurt’s position after he had stayed away from the talks.
Over the last week, the bakers’ union boss has gone out of his way trying to shift the blame for Hostess’ demise away from the union strike he orchestrated and onto the company’s management team.
However, as the Teamsters noted last week:
The BCTGM chose a different path, as is their prerogative, to not substantively look for a solution or engage in the process. BCTGM members were told there were better solutions than the final offer, although Judge Drain stated in his decision in bankruptcy court that no such solutions exist.
It seems this is a common mistake for the bakers’ union, which has seen it membership fall from more than 117,000 in 2000 to just 82,372 at the end of 2011.
Even though his union lost roughly 30% of its membership over the last decade and Frank Hurt condemns the pay cuts and other concessions his members took at Hostess, as the union’s president, Hurt saw his total compensation rise nearly 45%–from $181,840 in 2000 to $262,654 in 2011, according to Department of Labor reports.
Meanwhile, as his union members’ industry pension fund is in critical status, less than half funded (over $10 billion in liabilities as of 2011), bakery union bosses are sitting pretty. They have their own union pension fund (paid for by union members) that is 100% funded.
As is the case in other unions, nepotism is something that bakers’ union bosses apparently embrace.
In addition to the six-figure salaries paid to the union’s executive staff, both Hurt and the union’s secretary-treasurer have their kids working inside the union’s headquarters, pulling down over $71,000 and nearly $49,000, respectively.
While Frank Hurt and his fellow union bosses spin their tales of how bad Hostess management was, they can be comforted in knowing that their union strike caused the unemployment of more than 18,000 Hostess employees right before the Holidays.
Although they may not have money for Christmas presents, and not much to be thankful for tomorrow (or the day after, as they head to the unemployment lines), at least Hostess employees have, as Frank Hurt put it, their “dignity” and “respect.”
As for Frank Hurt, he and his kids won’t be missing out on much since they still have their pay, benefits, and pensions–all paid for by their (now unemployed) union members.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com