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Ok, short and sweet;

Strikes have been the first line of defense against corporate/owner depredations for many, many years. Leave the workplace, demonstrate outside, create pickets, encourage others not to cross them, and try to use the power of aggregated labor to extract concessions from ownership that needs hands on the production line.

Sit-down strikes were a model innovation on that theme that led to the rise and entrenchment of the large scale, powerful industrial unions and union coalitions of the 1930's through the 1950's. Instead of leaving the factory and attempting to prevent scab labor (or management operation of the lines), stay IN the factory and occupy (!!) the workspace. Massively successful in its time.

How about a new twist on an old and successful idea? How about "Buyout Strikes"?

Hostess for example: Greedy vulture capitalists buy out a limping and aging concern on the last legs of its long and drawn-out downward spiral. They attempt to apply the classic model: Fail to contribute mandated pension contributions, attempt to extract contract concessions in a bid to pump up the stock value one last time. They WOULD have pumped, then dumped, then liquidated at the top of the price peak... and Hostess would have gone under in less than a year regardless of union concessions or not. Now they're all mad and stuff because they lost out on that last little drop of profit extraction, golden parachute, and "give myself a bonus that is equal to what we would have paid into the pension fund, because I am so job-creation-y"...

So, now Hostess is on the auction block... all it's stuff: Brand names, advertising copyright, physical plant, equipment, fleet, and more is up for sale... at bargain rates.

Do people still like junkfood? Do people still buy junkfood? Do people want more and better and sweeter junkfood? Of course. Are there people who have the training and experience to make, market, deliver, and sell junkfood? YES! Why not have the workers not strike the factory, nor occupy the factory, but BUY the factory??

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:34:27 AM PST

  •  Just an idea... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terri, Neon Mama, wu ming

    Occupy's "debt jubilee" plus CIO sit-down strikes = workers buying and controlling the means of production.

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:36:01 AM PST

  •  It has been done. Worth the struggle. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RedDan

    On the other hand, we could retrain workers to do jobs which promote healthier lives.    Green energy.  Health care.  Creating healthier snack foods.  

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:19:16 AM PST

    •  Of course retraining... (0+ / 0-)

      But in the interim? And also, too... healthier sweets?

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:23:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm all for those things, but I need my twinkies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW

      And if hostess was owned by the workers instead of some private equity douchebags, they'd be even more delicious.

      "Poor man wanna be rich, Rich man wanna be King, and the King ain't satisfied till he rules everything." Bruce Springsteen.

      by Johnnythebandit on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:56:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's no retraining in changing a recipe. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

      by JesseCW on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:27:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  New ingredients often require (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neon Mama

        new techniques...

        And new ways to procure those ingredients, and new contacts in those ingredients' producing regions (thinking about Agave as a substitute for Sugar, Corn Syrup or Fructose, for example)...

        Gotta retrain to figure best practice in use, gotta do the chemistry to see what happens in conjunction with other ingredients and at temperature, and in vacuum packing and so on...

        Gotta get new contacts and do new supply deals... and so on.

        The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

        by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:35:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Workers pour a different ingredient (0+ / 0-)

          into a hopper.  They push a skid of honey instead of a skid of HFCS on a pallet jack.

          There's no retraining.

          "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

          by JesseCW on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:14:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  First of all (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neon Mama, alain2112

            there is far more to working in a bread factory (or any factory) than that.

            Second, so what? If we still need people to pour ingredients and push pallet jacks, then we still need to hire them and pay them, and still need union rights, pensions, benefits, and so forth for them.

            The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

            by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:30:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I worked in a bakery for 3 years. (0+ / 0-)

              There's a lot more to working in then that - but you fix the equipment the same way whether or not you use whole wheat flour.

              That's a real bakery - not fully automated production line like Hostess uses.  

              Saying that production workers don't need to be retrained in order to make healthier snack foods is not, in anyway, the same as saying their skills are not valuable.

              Second, so what? If we still need people to pour ingredients and push pallet jacks, then we still need to hire them and pay them, and still need union rights, pensions, benefits, and so forth for them.
              This is a complete non-sequitor.  It has nothing at all to do with the point I made and it is a pathetic and disingenuous attempt to pretend I am some how opposed to workers exercising their rights.

              What you're doing is fucking disgusting.  Rather than simply cede a simple point, you're desperately trying to slander someone for the "sin" of pointing out an error.

              It's not just that people do sorry passive aggressive shit like this routinely here that's depressing, it's that they get rewarded with praise for doing it instead of getting called out on it.

              "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

              by JesseCW on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 02:44:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

                You said "no retraining necessary in a recipe change", and I disagreed, and also indicated that it's not really that big a deal either way, retraining or no. Your comment was phrased in such a way that made me a bit uncomfortable, as in: "ho hum, pour a bag of powder into a hopper, push a pallet jack around the floor" -- my point was that regardless of the level of sophistication, union labor, union work, and union power (and its benefits should be available any and all...

                and your response is that what I am doing is fucking disgusting?

                Excuse me?

                So I post a diary about how important strikes are to the labor movement, and how important (historically) sit-ins have been for growing both its scope and power, and how interesting it would be to think about more than just striking, more than just sitting in, but instead taking over, buying out, buying up and controlling the means of production, rather than fighting tooth and nail every generation to cement our right to a decent living operating that means of production...

                And I get "you're fucking disgusting" and "you denigrate every working by saying x, y, or z about strikes vis-a-vis the labor movement" (from another commenter).

                And you call ME passive aggressive? What the fuck is wrong with you?

                The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:12:29 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Strikes are the last line of defense (0+ / 0-)

    I'm really growing tired of hearing the word strike bandied about by people who clearly have no conception of what it actually means.  Strikes are the last line of defense, because they are terrifying experiences for workers not to be taken lightly.

    Even with the best of unions, going on strike means taking a massive financial hit.  For those unions that do have strike funds, strike pay is rarely at the same level as your normal paycheck.  Moreover, many unions simply don't have a secure strike fund in place.  So going on strike means no money.

    It's easy to pontificate about the virtue of struggle when it isn't your ass, or your kid's well-being, on the line.  

    FYI, the cooperative model you discuss has a name, ESOP, and a mixed record in practice.  

    http://www.economicpopulist.org

    by ManfromMiddletown on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:00:56 AM PST

    •  First of all, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, alain2112

      back off. I've gone out on strike.

      Second of all, I agree -- my phrasing was not the best: organization and bargaining solidarity are integral to worker prosperity, and the first things that are needed.

      My point, however inartfully put, is that the strike, threat of strike, right to strike are the teeth inherent in that solidarity and organization.

      Point being: when bosses attack (via attempts to cut pay or benefits, or increase hours, or what have you), the strike/threat of strike is the first line of active defense.

      Please don't preach at me about "my ass not being on the line" or "my kid's future not being at risk" because I speak from some (not extensive, but some) experience: Food service, building trades, and academic union activity are all part of my experience, and I've been out on strike and gone without paychecks. It sucks... but it's better than the alternative. And there needs to be a better alternative that simply a strike.

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:20:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry, but no (0+ / 0-)

        You write:

        Point being: when bosses attack (via attempts to cut pay or benefits, or increase hours, or what have you), the strike/threat of strike is the first line of active defense.
        Again you are ignoring that going on strike is the last step in a long line of escalations that begins with the contract.  This being the whole point of organization. Once you have a contract, you have legal recourse. You have a grievance process.  Once the company refuses to adhere to the contract, or negotiate in good faith if the contract's up, that's when going on strike is an appropriate action.

        http://www.economicpopulist.org

        by ManfromMiddletown on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:35:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excuse me, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alain2112

          but this diary and the proposal in it was not intended as an exhaustive primer on the legal and historical context, value, process, and procedure behind unionization, organization, contract negotiation, and striking.

          I am not ignoring that long chain of cause, effect, negotiation, and so on...

          And even if I were ignoring the details, the main point remains the same: threat of strike, right to strike, legal basis for strike, and legal framework within which strikes take place is the single most important aspect of unionization.

          If strikes were not on the menu, contract negotiations would be meaningless. If strikes were not on the menu, legal protections and governmental oversight would be ignored. If strikes were not on the menu, unions would be little more than a social club.

          Threat of strike, legal or otherwise (and they only became legal because they happened anyway, mind you), is the fundamental building block of union power, full stop.

          Why are you nitpicking and attacking and being so nasty?

          The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

          by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:44:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  And anyway... tell it to the WalMart workers (0+ / 0-)

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 12:18:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The main drawback will be financing. Raiders (0+ / 0-)

    finance buyouts with other people's money, often that of the target itself. This route is less available to labor.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:37:39 AM PST

    •  It would be interesting to consider (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      ways around this: Unions themselves gaining financing by leveraging their aggregate and projected worth? Using that to "raid" the company they work for?

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:57:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Co-ops, perhaps (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RedDan

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 12:17:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How about the (0+ / 0-)

          jubilee model that Occupy is using to retire debt?

          The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

          by RedDan on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 12:50:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They're using charity to buy existing post (0+ / 0-)

            foreclosure debt.  The nearest parallel would be to buy the going concern at bankruptcy, but I doubt that charity is a likely funding soource for the move. That's why I thought co-op, the funders get some sort of stake, as do the workers.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:34:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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