EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 24, 2012

Column: Finding someone else to blame is Job 1

One of the more perceptive proverbs out there is: “Success has many fathers; failure is an orphan.”

But it leaves one thing out, and that is the frenetic contest to make sure failure is not actually an orphan – to name the father so there is no doubt that it is not us, but somebody else.

That was on display again during the past week as we all wrung our hands in distress over the prospect of Twinkies and Wonder Bread – two of the least nutritional and least deserving of the label “food” products on the market – vanishing from our lives.

Even those who inhabit the fever swamps of the left seemed a bit mystified that the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, a branch of the AFL-CIO, would strike when the maker of those unhealthy products, Hostess, was essentially insolvent already, and had warned that a strike would put it out of business.

It is one thing to refuse to make labor concessions when a company is profitable. It is another when the prospect of 18,500 jobs disappearing is real.

So, to counter what it considered the brainwashing of the public by corporate propaganda, the union issued the following statement: “Despite (Hostess CEO) Greg Rayburn’s insulting and disingenuous statements of the last several months, the truth is that Hostess workers and the union have absolutely no responsibility for the failure of this company. That responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the company’s decision makers.”

Got that? Absolutely no responsibility. The company’s financial troubles have nothing to do with absurd union work rules like requiring Twinkies and Wonder Bread to be transported in different trucks.

But the larger point is that, as usual, the proverb holds. The company says the union is the father of the failure. The union says it is the company. Meanwhile, Hostess is going down the tubes.

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