The unions were not the entire reason, but a contributing factor, to the demise of Hostess in its' current form. I could see not wanting to own part of a sinking ship. However, if I owned part of it I would be much more willing to bail faster.
Lowe's is an ESOP. While new hires are not going to make as much as some of the first employees did from the ESOP, they still have a stake in the company.
I work for a company that become an ESOP about the time I started. We are still in the process of buying out the owners of the company. We are at the point where the ESOP owns more of the company than the original owners. Stock value is increasing. People are starting to realize they have an impact on the bottom line. You can now look at someone and say that is costing all of us money.