Obama subsidizes bakers union intransigence
Who says intransigence doesn't pay? After driving Hostess out of business by refusing to negotiate, union bakers have been rewarded by the White House with Trade Adjustment Assistance. It's all the foreigners' fault.This is another case of Democrats helping labor featherbedding at the expense of the taxpayers. This is a program that should be cut. It is an example of why the sequestration makes sense to many taxpayers and why Obama's budgets are out of control. The existence of this program gave unions the ability to shut down an employer who would not cave to their extortionate demands.
Politics: Who says intransigence doesn't pay? After driving Hostess out of business by refusing to negotiate, the White House has decided to reward the union bakers with Trade Adjustment Assistence, blaming foreigners. What a sweet deal.
Last November, Hostess Brands went into liquidation, throwing 18,500 employees out of their jobs. The baking giant had been through two restructurings, but the company remained unprofitable.
All the same, most workers at the bread and pastry maker, famous for its Twinkies and Ho Hos snack cakes, were willing to tighten their belts until good times returned.
They included hard-line unions, such as the Teamsters, not known for making concessions.
But there was one exception: the AFL-CIO-affiliated Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International (BCTGM).
It refused to deal, taking the entire company, including fellow workers, down with it.
Turns out the union knew exactly what it was doing.
This week, the Labor Department decided to shower Hostess workers with Trade Adjustment Assistance, a multibillion-dollar pork barrel program that was beefed up as a bone to Democrats, who were blocking passage of three free-trade treaties in Congress in 2012.
TAA is a lavish program doled out by the Labor Department for laid-off workers who've lost their jobs due to "global trade."
It provides worker retraining due to the supposed evils of free trade — plus moving expenses, baby-sitting expenses and as much as two years of unemployment pay. If a worker ends up making less than his union salary afterward, Uncle Sam spots the worker for 50% of the supposed lost wages in a "free" subsidy.
What's more, "virtually anybody can qualify," said TAA certifying officer Elliott Kushner in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Kushner was the one who signed off on shoveling the pork to Hostess.
Two problems come with this scenario.
One, there is no evidence foreign baked goods — cited in his report — are flooding into the U.S., putting bakery workers out of business.
Imports of baked goods have been basically flat since 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.