2012 will be remembered as the year Big Labor went to war, taking on everything from Twinkies to state constitutions. But unfortunately for union bosses, they’ve got little more to show for their battle efforts than a handful of stinging electoral losses, some frustrated parents, perturbed politicians, stranded holiday travelers, and 18,500 more unemployed Americans.
Consider the run-down of this year’s big labor battles. In September, the Chicago Teachers Union shut down the Chicago Public School system for seven days. In a city where only 21 percent of eighth graders are proficient in English, the strike kept 350,000 students out of school for more than a week — and all so that teachers who make an average salary of $76,000 could get guaranteed annual raises over the next four years.
Then there’s Hostess. The bakers’ union strike this past November cost the bankrupt company its existence. Some 18,500 people lost their jobs because the bakers’ union — which represented 5,000 Hostess employees — refused to accept the company’s final contract offer. Thus died the Twinkie, along with the company’s $2.5 billion in annual sales.