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Letter: In the eyes of unions: Class warfare being waged by CEOs rewarding themselves

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  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 8:01 a.m.

    An excellent letter, and spot on.

    For a very disturbing read on the subject, may I recommend and excellent book by Hedrick Smith? It's called "Who Stole the American Dream?"

    It pulls no punches and assigns blame where it belongs with both parties and with America's increasingly greedy corporate bosses.

    Lewis Brandeis said, clear back in the early 1900's: "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated int eh hands of a few, but we can't have both."

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 8:57 a.m.

    Thanks, Dane, for the excellent perspective you present. Most Americans, particularly those dedicated to the two major political parties, are convinced that the corporate interest is the same as America's interest. Their stated goal is to maximize the wealth of shareholders and executives. As less openly stated goal, but a goal nonetheless, is to minimize costs, particularly the cost of labor. If they can do it by shipping jobs overseas, they will. If they can do it by bullying workers into accepting lower wages, they will. If they can do it by increasing labor productivity, so that they can produce the same amount of product with fewer workers, they will.

    Many Americans harbor the mistaken notion that the enemy is government, and that corporations are their friends. The Founders would be appalled.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 9:47 a.m.

    While not a fan of greed I do laugh at you who blame corporations for our troubles.. This is not the case. The problem today is that people do not want to take care of themselves.
    We as a people have never been wealthier than we are right now.the rich being poorer would not make us wealthier, in fact just the opposite would be true.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 9:51 a.m.

    Excellent letter, Dane. Very well done indeed.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:05 a.m.

    Great letter.

    It exposes the truth behind Hostess's failure... Not because of the unions but because they had been mismanaged by those at the top who merely wished to raid and steal from the company and then run away as fast as they could leaving the company in worse circumstances than before.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:07 a.m.

    high school fan, may I suggest you try to expand your horizons by doing some research?

    A good place to start would be to read "Who Stole the American Dream," by Hedrick Smith.

    It's very easy to express an opinion, but it requires some sincere effort to make sure it is a valid opinion based on knowledge.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:14 a.m.

    Correction -- I misspelled the first name of Justice Brandeis. It's Louis and not Lewis.

    I wasn't fully awake.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    When one really looks at business failures they will see many factors but the #1 reason is mismanagement. Poor decisions, poor management of assets, poor accounting practices and not using the union as a partner in success. Unions are not prudent in every situation but if workers feel the need then that should be the first sign something is amiss. Companies often overlook their best customers, their employees. Hostess, an American institution was destroyed by more than greed at the top. It was destroyed by a false sense of entitlement at the top.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 1:23 p.m.

    To: Dane Henderson
    Orem, Utah

    What and excellent letter, and spot on.

    Not one mention about political parties,
    just a letter reporting the TRUTH of what really happened.

    I don't care if Hostess gets bought out and Twikies, HoHos or Ding-Dongs makes a come back --

    I will NEVER buy anything from them again -- EVER!

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 2, 2012 1:36 p.m.

    @ high school fan: You cannot take care of yourself if you are working a job that does not pay you properly.

    If wages for the average worker had grown at the same rate as wages for upper management, minimum wage would be $23 per hour.

    Should minimum wage be $23 per hour? Of course not. But to claim that workers should be able to care for themselves and their families when, on a comparative basis, they are making less per hour now then they were making 30 years ago is ridiculous.

    When upper management is making more in a day than their average employee makes in a year, that is a problem.

    Middle class Americans have most definitely been wealthier in the past than they are now.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Dec. 2, 2012 2:51 p.m.

    Excellent letter!

    We need to reward companies like CostCo that pay their employees a living wage (average about $20.50/hour), and avoid corporate Scrooges like WalMart, that pay third world wages.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    Class warfare is ok as long as the revenue/reward is moving up to the 1%.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 4:05 p.m.

    “Class warfare” gets used often in today’s conversations and writings. 99 % of the time the context in which it is used is utter and complete nonsense. Genuine class warfare took place under the totalitarian rule of Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Mao Zedong. The class with power murdered millions of human beings. The improper use of the term class warfare is an insult to the millions of victims of genuine class warfare.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 9:50 p.m.

    Thanks for the letter, Dane. Well done.

    To liberal larry: Your post demonstrates to me that I need to make a better effort to learn which companies are paying their employees fairly and which ones are penny-pinchers, and to buy more from those that are generous to employees.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:20 p.m.

    Airlines have been run by corporate raiders for years. Hostess was following that tried and true raider plan to legally steal and then blame everything on the unions.

    Many people become wealthy honestly, many more will try any way they can.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:35 p.m.

    A great perspective on this issue can be found in the book "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich. I strongly recommend it.

    Dr. Ehrenreich, a cellular biologist and writer, spent a year undercover working and attempting to live on minimum wage jobs. Her experiences are eye-opening.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    The Right loves to lay the blame for faltering manufacturing at the feet of labor due to the high costs of salaries, pensions, and benefits. Yet they give management a pass. Can anyone explain why? Management freely entered into the contracts with labor and negotiated the terms. They made promises to labor that they would manage the companies in a way that would provide the financial wherewithall to fulfill their promises. Management was unable to maintain their end of the bargain. They managed incompetently. They misjudged markets, designed lousy products, and sales suffered and companies failed. And yet labor gets the blame. How come? Labor did their job. They showed up for work and produced the widgets. If management had done their job and made sound business decisions (which is what they are supposed to do), there wouldn't be these problems.

    An aside: In the 1960s-70s, executives earned about 40 times the average salary of the workers. Now they make about about 400 times. Does anyone seriously believe that CEOs deliver ten times more value to their companies now than they did 30 years ago?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    Some excellent, common sense comments here.

    Not many trying to defend the indefensible disparities in our workplaces today. But that brings the question: How do we break this cycle of corporate greed and help boost ordinary Americans upon whom our economy really depends, upward on the ladder of prosperity?

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 10:51 a.m.

    Is anyone willing to expand on or detract from the following ?

    "The improper use of the term class warfare is an insult to the millions of victims of genuine class warfare."

    See 4:05 p.m.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Dec. 3, 2012 11:19 a.m.

    William Gronberg
    Payson, UT
    Is anyone willing to expand on or detract from the following ?

    "The improper use of the term class warfare is an insult to the millions of victims of genuine class warfare."

    See 4:05 p.m.

    10:51 a.m. Dec. 3, 2012

    ============

    You made the comment.
    What are you talking about?

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    Is anyone willing to expand on or detract from the following ?

    "“Class warfare” gets used often in today’s conversations and writings. 99 % of the time the context in which it is used is utter and complete nonsense. Genuine class warfare took place under the totalitarian rule of Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Mao Zedong. The class with power murdered millions of human beings. The improper use of the term class warfare is an insult to the millions of victims of genuine class warfare."

    I do not think the above is too esoteric.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    @William Gronberg

    I'll bite . . .

    I think your issue is a tempest in a teacup, and a lot of semantic handwringing for (virtually) nothing. It's a little like claiming that labeling the Seinfield character (and real-life person he is based on) "the Soup Nazi" is unconscionable because of how disrespectful it is to the victims of Hitler's regime.

    The meaning of words and phrases tend to change over time, and often there is absolutely no connection between current uses of words/phrases and their sometimes-nefarious origins; but you already knew that.

    I have a feeling that you are just being pugnacious and spoiling for a fight, and I just fell victim to one of the classic blunders (third behind not getting involved in a land war in Asia and not going in against a Sicilian when death is on the line): you were "trolling" and I took the bait.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:11 p.m.

    No one cares William Gronberg. Stop trying to change the subject.

    We need to start concentrating on our own country. We need to stop rebuilding other nations and giving out handouts to defense contractors. We need to greatly increase taxes and start to seriously invest into our education, infrastructure, and health care system. Also, no more golden parachutes. CEOs get their salaries and bonuses AFTER the other debts, including pensions and salaries to workers, are paid off. Can't give the workers their pay? You don't deserve your bonus!

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 6:11 p.m.

    @12:11 p.m. Hardly a change of subject. Class warfare is mentioned by the letter writer in the last paragraph. The DN headline writer put class warfare front and center.

    @12:02 p.m. Yes words and phrases change their meaning. Perhaps this phrase should not have its meaning changed? Warfare normally involves organized and large scale violence. It is just too strong a word in my opinion for the context most people use it in.

    I know absolutely nothing about Seinfield.

    The solicitation of opinion should not involve a "fight". This is my fourth and final post per DN rules. If there is any fight, it will be conducted by others.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 3, 2012 9:52 p.m.

    I wonder how many union members know how much of their dues goes into the pockets of union bosses to make them rich? There are abuses on both sides!

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 9:00 a.m.

    William Gronberg: "I know absolutely nothing about Seinfield."

    That's OK. It was famously a "show about nothing."

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:24 p.m.

    @William Gronberg
    Payson, UT

    “There’s class warfare, all right,but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” ~ Warren Buffett.

    You lose.

    The End

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 6, 2012 6:31 p.m.

    Lagomorph:

    While there is a lot to like in your comments, be careful because they can be easily turned on you. When management demands concessions and the union gives in, can we not say the workers got what they deserved?

    I think good management, fair compensation and respect between the two parties, or what I call responsible capitalism, will get things done most effectively.