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No Contract, No Cookies: The Stella D’Oro Strike

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Michael Filippou, a shop steward featured in the film “No Contract, No Cookies: The Stella D’Oro Strike, andGeorge Kassai, a former Stella D'Oro baker, talk about the divisive strike at the Stella D’Oro factory in the Bronx. In 2006, Stella D’Oro was bought by Brynwood Partners, a private-equity firm that boasts of giving its investors a 30% return, and it demanded bakers accept wage cuts of up to 30%. The workers went on strike. After a long legal battle, the strike came to an end, but the owners responded by selling the business to a non-union plant in Ohio, and today the Bronx factory is closed. “No Contract, No Cookies” is directed by Jon Alpert and Matt O'Neill, and it premieres July 6 on HBO2.

Guests:

Jon Alpert and George Kassai
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Comments [4]

Feste Ainoriba from Dayton, OH

The fundamental problem is that we have allowed unions to create labor monopolies. The reason monopolies are bad is that they have a corner on a market and can set prices that would never be sustainable in a robust, competitive free market.

Labor monopolies, like the one in the documentary are so used to setting non-competitive prices for labor that they start feeling entitled to their artificially elevated prices.

But at some point, those who risk capital to build a business are being asked to share such a large part of their profits with a labor force who risked nothing that it becomes cost advantageous to recapitalize the operation in another state or another country. When this happens, inevitably, the union monopoly resents the business owners for refusing to submit to continued non-competitive demands.

The harsh reality is that there are better educated, more productive workers overseas who are willing to do much more than American blue collar laborers, and will do it for less. Read Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat" to understand how technology is breaking the labor monopoly's traditional hold on non-professional jobs.

Unions who continue to insist on higher than competitively-set wages and benefits will either drive their employers out of business; or their employers will have to relocate operations to locations with competitive labor in order to compete with lean competitors in a free world market.

The conventional union wisdom that greed is driving industries overseas is right - but they are wrong when they attribute that greed to corporate shareholders. It is the unions themselves whose monopolized demands are greedily above the fair market value. It is these unreasonable demands that are driving jobs to other states and overseas.

Entitlementarianism will be the death of American manufacturing.

Aug. 03 2011 09:03 PM
hb

Not very nice to minimize your guest's sense of shame at having to take his kids out of their chosen schools and the kids' disruption at having to transfer away from those schools, by saying City College is still a good school and other people must have defaulted on mortgages. Is this just another example of insensitivity or is it alumnus loyalty to CCNY?

Jul. 05 2011 02:07 PM
Vinny from Manalapan, NJ

Makes private equity firms look like heartless money grubbing slime with no morals. Hmm weird.

Jul. 05 2011 01:58 PM
barent

so ohio is the new bangladesh....

this big cookie, aka u.s.a., better turn around soon,or, we'll all some day forget, what a bathroom break was.

Jul. 05 2011 11:26 AM

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