In this assignment, I will research a labor union, provide you with background information about them, and discuss their impact on the companies they serve, as well as the advantages and disadvantages Of having them as a part of today’s workforce. Purpose or Mission The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union’s (BUGGY) purpose is “to promote the material, intellectual and general welfare of all workers” within their respective workplaces (Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, AAA, Para. ). The organization focuses on six areas for its members: organizational action, education, conditions of employment, job security, active participation at the state and federal legislation levels, and organizational alliance with other unions who share similar interests (French, 2013). Community action is also an important part of BUGGY and its membership, who have partnered with the United Way of America annually for over sixty years to provide assistance for working families, as well as the elderly and physically disabled.
They “believe that sharing with others in need is an important part of our labor tradition” and the organization encourages their membership to participate, and actively support their communities (Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Bibb, Para. 1). History Over the years, the BUGGY has evolved from several small unions into one larger entity, representing several industries who’ve shared common goals throughout the years.
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The predecessors of today’s BC include The Journeymen Bakers Union of 1 886, The Tobacco Workers International Union of 1 895, and The American Federation of Grain Millers dating back into the eighteenth century. In 1999, the BUGGY was officially named after “the roger of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers and The American Federation of Grain Millers”, and currently has 1 00,000 members across the United States and Canada (Wisped, 2013, Para. 6).
Today’s BUGGY “union includes workers in bakeries, candy, cereal, sugar, grain mills, tobacco plants, food processing and manufacturing facilities and other related occupations related to these industries” (Wisped, 201 3, Para. 1). Impact to an Organization In November of 201 2, the BUGGY had a significant impact on one of the Hostess Brands, Inc. Bakery plants in my community, when they went on trite to “protest contract changes forced upon its members by a bankruptcy court’ (Wisped, 201 3, Para. ). The company had been tying to negotiate reorganization, and had already reached an agreement on pay and benefit cuts with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. However, BUGGY workers refused to agree to more reductions in pay and decreasing benefits, prompting the company to file bankruptcy, which resulted in the loss of 18,500 jobs nationwide. Although it was ultimately the BUGGY that took down Hostess Brands, I’m to entirely sure they deserve all of the credit.
It seems that Hostess had been mismanaged for over a decade, cycling through seven Coo’s during that time, and filing bankruptcy for the second time in eight years. “Since the first bankruptcy in 2004, BUGGY members across the country have taken dramatic wage and benefit concessions and watched as 21 Hostess plants Were shut down and thousands of jobs Were lost” (Hall, 201 2, Para. 4). At that time, management assured its employees that the money saved via concessions and plant closings would have a significant impact on the debility of company, making them stronger and more competitive (Hall, 2012).
Since then, Hostess Brands has also stopped making their contractual payments to employees’ pensions, and spent money lining the pockets of its executive team. It comes as no surprise to me that a poorly managed company would have to deal with the ramifications of their poor financial behavior at some point. However, in this specific instance, I think that both sides failed. Unions believe that demonstrating enough power to destroy a business is success. Does the loss Of 18,500 jobs define SUCceSS in your eyes?
At the same time, a company can’t spend money erroneously and believe that their employees will be alright with its impact on their personal pocket books. Do you think Hostess officials and their Wall Street counterparts view the downfall of an 82 year old bakery icon a success? There was no victory for anybody involved in this particular case. Advantages & Disadvantages There are union advantages and disadvantages to both employees and employers in today’s workforce. For employees, unions offer job security, a safer working environment, fair and equal treatment, and better insemination packages including raise benefits and health coverage.
As a union member, you can file any complaints about your employer to union representatives, who will then take them up with management on your behalf. The one disadvantage unions have for employees is the opportunity for striking. If union representatives and managements cannot reach an agreement, a strike might occur. In the union, all members must strike if the majority of them vote in favor of it, which can lead to serious financial hardships. For employers, unions create an established working agreement for its employees that can’t be disrupted until the contract expires.
This makes the cost of doing business easier to manage and predict, and there is less of an opportunity for employee turnover because workers enjoy the safety and security a union provides. The disadvantages employers face with unions are much more of a frustration. Termination of an employee, even when justified, can be a very difficult process. “Union contracts also make it difficult to make necessary adjustments when business conditions change, such as laying off workers or cutting hours when reeve uses fall” (Ease, 2013, Para. 5). Conclusion Overall, feel that the unions do have good intentions.
They take care of Ethel members and provide them with benefits that are lucrative in today’s economy. Lees face it, good paying jobs that offer health benefits are much nicer to have, but getting harder to come by. What I don’t agree with is the manner in which most of these unions go about business. When unions use their power to start bringing down companies, they are no longer serving any value to the overall picture. Let’s use the example of Hostess Brands again. I the BUGGY wasn’t involved, they would more than likely still be in business, ender a new corporate structure.
All employees would have been given the opportunity as an individual, to accept or decline the changes within the organization, thus determining their own fate. If you are no longer satisfied with the pay or benefits, put in your resignation and move on to something else. In this case, the fate of the entire company was determined by a group of workers who represented less than 50% of the employees. Because BUGGY stood up to Hostess Brands, it will now be the taxpayers responsibility to fund the welfare of these families. How can that be good for he economy as a whole?