Hostess Is Shutting Down, But Don't Let the Right Fool You -- The Twinkie Will Live On

Categories: Biz, Dish

TwinkieTheKid.jpg
Hostess Brands announced this morning that it's over. America's premier snack-cake maker will seek permission from a bankruptcy judge to sell off its assets and lay off its 18,500 employees. This comes after a bitter dispute with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, whose members rejected pay and benefit cuts, then went on strike when the company imposed them anyway.

This particular scenario -- a labor dispute bringing down the maker of the Twinkie -- was just begging for some union bashing, and the right-wing media has delivered. Take this headline from Breitbart, that "Unions May Kill Off the Twinkie," or the article from Red State, which features a union boot poised to squash a couple of Twinkies, with the mustachioed Twinkie the Kid telling us "Yes, It's True. Parasitic Unions Kill Their Hosts (or, in this case, Hostess). Adios, Amigos."

There's no suggestion that, hey, maybe Hostess has done a terrible job of adapting its business to a world in which the Twinkie, larded with fat and sugar, filled with preservatives (and a mysterious substance called "creme"), and devoid of nutritional value, has come to epitomize for many all that is wrong with American food. This is a straightforward case of unions killing off an iconic snack food, the rough equivalent, in an overfed America, of slaughtering puppies for sport.

It's certainly true that BCTGM rejected Hostess' last, best offer, which called for an 8-percent pay cut, 17-percent cut in contributions to employee health plans, smaller pension contributions, and their strike might be the most proximate cause for a Hostess liquidation and the termination of the company's 18,500 employees.

That said, let's put things in perspective: The Twinkie's not going anywhere. The brand, recognizable to every cognizant American, is too valuable; there are any number of private equity firms who love nothing more than a good brand sold on the cheap at a bankruptcy auction.

CNN Money examined what might happen to Hostess back in January. It compares the situation with that of Polaroid, a brand that was auctioned off for $88 million despite its seeming obsolescence, and concludes that "(s)hould Hostess Brands choose to liquidate rather than reorganize, the brand names -- Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread -- will very likely live on."

In other words, no need to stockpile Twinkies -- unless, that is, you plan on riding out the next four years in a fallout shelter. In that case, stockpile away. And you won't need to worry about Obama's second term turning into a permanent Islamo-fascist dictatorship. Those Twinkies will last forever.


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69 comments
putesputes
putesputes

This is  nothing more than an apologetic article for the Unions. Look, 18,000 people are out of work. You obviously did not do you homework since Hostess had over $2 billion in sales, so people are still buying lots of Twinkies despite its mystery ingredients. But $2 billion is sales does not equal profits when most of those sales have to go pay bloated union pensions.

No worries, Twinkies will still be around,  but next time they will come back wearing a Mexican hat instead of Cowboy hat. There are other people in the world that do appreciative having a job instead of living from the government cheese.

 

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

The union sure did a bang up job protecting the workers

idiot3
idiot3

who cares about the twinkies, thats 18k jobs gone. you dont think there are people looking for work who would be happy to have one of those?

Edward D Mota
Edward D Mota

I interviewed with them twice in Irving and that company had long term problems. Fire sale is on, needed to happen.

planecrazy
planecrazy

And it's only just begun my liberal story teller.  Just wait until the "Affordable" (God I just chuckle when I write that) Health Care Act provisions kick in.  You're going to see more companies fold up like a barn full of bingo tables.  And oh yeah, you'll also get a kick out of all the time cards that read 29:59hrs/week.  But hey, it's what everyone wanted, so no tears when we're all eating rice and sugar bread at your nearest cardboard box.

Americano
Americano

Yes Jim, the right is trying to scare America that there won't be any more Twinkies, other than the young boys who frequent Cedar Springs.  There may be Twinkies in the future, but those 18,500 jobs aren't coming back.  Just protecting the little guy.

observist
observist topcommenter

Conservatives envy up and scorn down.  Liberals scorn up and empathize down.  See 30 examples above.

Aaron Dietrich
Aaron Dietrich

I love drinking the Kool-aid, I see pretty colors....

Nathan Starr Starr
Nathan Starr Starr

A more healthy conscience society and competition had nothing to do with this. This is the start of a sobering reality. As cost for the corps, including top brass perks, the lower everyone who works for them's standards of living will go down.

Dallas Observer
Dallas Observer

Ryan Jernigan: Some far-right media outlets turned it into a political hate thing, by suggesting that Obama single-handedly killed the Twinkie -- which, if you're familiar with US Code 65.78.234, would basically be treason. We were just trying to make sure people knew the very important fact that, no matter who's at fault in this squabble, the Twinkie -- and, more importantly, the Cup Cake -- will endure. Joe Tone, editor

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

ITs more than just labor sending this into liquidation.  The company could have chosen to abrogate the contracts in bankruptcy and submit a working living contract to the judge for approval and then force it upon the union while negotiating a new contract.  Obviously management didnt care about the rest of its employees and just shut the whole mother fucker down.  Nice job management, take your pensions and balloon retirements while the common man gets his $400 a week from the state.  

simplistic1
simplistic1

This is exactly why unions need to be stripped of their legal power. The point isn't that 5000 employees can cost the other 13000 their jobs, though that is true. The real point is that thousands of other unemployed people who are more than capable of doing the work and willing to work for less than the union employees don't even get to apply for the jobs, and when the union can't come to an agreement they force the jobs to evaporate/move elsewhere while they sit back and collect benefits from the state and the union. Unemployed people who didn't get into the union before this debacle, but would be perfectly willing to work at the Hostess plants, aren't so lucky. The country as a whole is poorer due to the lost economic activity caused by the shutdown, much of which will be replaced by lawyers' fees as this is fought out in court. Whether Hostess' products were any good or not has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS AT ALL, people buy the damn things and that demand creates jobs IF YOU LET IT. The fact that those jobs don't exist anymore is directly attributable to the union, its legal protections, and the perverse incentives that it creates for workers to prefer the loss of employment to the maintenance of it.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

What the heck has right wong got to do with anything??? And yes many of its products will be sold most likely to BIMBO a Mexican company

 

And lets not forget they came to an agreement with its largest union the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union had roughly 2,000 members....

 

get your reporting right and perhaps ask employees that work there what they think instead of political propaganda undertone.

James080
James080

The brands will survive, and production will likely resume under a new owner in a right to work state. The striking workers probably compared the pay and benefits that Hostess offer, then decided they would be better off not working and collection state unemployment benefits, federal unemployment benefits, and union unemployment benefits. 

 

Hostess products are all processed garbage anyway. Its hard for me to care other than the fact that 5,000 disgruntled workers choose to put another 13,000 workers out of a job.

Jason Lumberg
Jason Lumberg

Haha....Merry Christmas on unemployment, shitbag union employees.

Aaron Dietrich
Aaron Dietrich

The Twinkie may live on but 18,500 jobs won't. The Labor Union was warned, they got what they asked for.

eddieVroom
eddieVroom

Has anyone heard from Zippy the Pinhead on this?..

Ryan Jernigan
Ryan Jernigan

LOL Come on DalOb... Why turn a Twinkie story into a political hate thing? Election is over, quit drinking the kool-aid. LOL It's reads like, "Those shady republicans are lying to everyone about Twinkies! We're not fooled." LOL Stupid...

Greg Pulte
Greg Pulte

Hey, it's the workers who are making the products. If they would rather see the ship go down instead of working for what they consider to be subsstandard wages and benefits, so be it. It seems the manufacture and delivery of Hostess products was incredibly labor-intensive. And this good for America because those products are crap anyway.

Doug Robinson
Doug Robinson

You guys are liberal idiots that can't see under Obama, jobs are tough to find and the union simply pushed too hard. If times were good, ok. But the economy sucks. The reality right in your face is this. Hostess is done and there are 18K more unemployed people.

jovid52
jovid52

Joke's on y'all...I've been stockpiling Twinkies for years!

Whuptywhat
Whuptywhat

Union busting. They'll probably downsize and relocate to Denver!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

 @ScottsMerkin It's not the airline industry, Merk. Not every member of manufacturing management is loaded up with contracts and pensions. There's hundreds or thousands of mid-level office workers screwed too, you know.

Nomore
Nomore

So you advocate letting the downward spiral continue. Unions did not create the middle class by taking the perpetual cuts. It happened by saying "No more. We will not go backward"

Peacock214
Peacock214

 @simplistic1 Hostess has been circling the drain for over a decade. They've filed for bankruptcy twice in the last ten years and have gone through six CEOs. Upper management conveniently gave themselves and 80% raise at the end of last year just before filing for their second chapter 11 (aka chapter 22) this past May. Organized labor did not kill this company; private equity and corporate raiders did.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

 @simplistic1 If management took the same percentage cuts to pay and benefits, the rest of the workforce might have gone along.

But as is the sop, management took higher pay and benefits while claiming poverty.

wrw22
wrw22

 @simplistic1 You'd have a good point if corporations could be trusted to not exploit their employees but unfortunately they've proven time and again that that is exactly what they'll do when they can.  And thus the unions are necessary.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @whocareswhatithink yeah, I dont know all the details as I havent followed closely.  Off to china goes Twinkie and Ding Dong making

 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @Scruffygeist i understand, but to blame only the union, when management obviously had a plan all along and that was shut that bitch down, take their money and run.

 

And when the chinese buy it out of liquidation, the trustees will make money too and the desk guy has nothing

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

 @wrw22  @simplistic1

 Unions were great at one point, and without them we would not have many of the laws we do today, but now they cost companies too much money. There are enough laws to protect employees in place. If there is a need for unions in the future, sure lets band together and bring them back, but we live in a legal society now, you would just sue the employer. They are dirty and play games. We are asked every day to adapt to changes that are made in society, its time we adapt to losing this one

 

simplistic1
simplistic1

 @wrw22 Voluntary contracts in a free society don't look like exploitation to me, they are the foundation of all human endeavor. Employers don't make any money without employees, so they have to keep them. This isn't the 19th century and people aren't stuck working for the one local factory owner. News flash - I've never belonged to a union but I've fought for raises and left jobs that didn't give them to me. Who's exploiting who in this situation?

Mervis
Mervis

@whocareswhatithink It won't be as big.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

 @ScottsMerkin Making even semi-perishable food products in China is extremely impractical--you're toeing the line of sensationalism there.

simplistic1
simplistic1

 @ScottsMerkin  @Scruffygeist Proving that the union can't achieve its goal of protecting its members, even at the cost of the entire economic enterprise. Hooray for collectivism.

Peacock214
Peacock214

 @Txtbk_Liberal_Agenda  @whocareswhatithink  @wrw22  @simplistic1 My first career was in the service industry, and in addition to what you stated, most restaurants I worked in didn't allow you to call in sick--if you didn't come in, you were fired. Your only saving grace would be a doctor's note, but of course we didn't have insurance so who could afford the spare cash to go to a doctor (especially if it's for something like the flu that doesn't even need a physician).

Txtbk_Liberal_Agenda
Txtbk_Liberal_Agenda

 @whocareswhatithink  @wrw22  @simplistic1 And there are millions of US workers currently being exploited by getting $2/hr plus tips with no benefits, no paid vacation, not even a set schedule every week.  All done in the name of a higher ROI for owners of the conglomerate.  Those people need negotiating leverage to fight for their proper share of profits.  Unions aren't going anywhere because there will always be greedy owners who know they can take advantage of individual employees if they can remain isolated.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

 @Txtbk_Liberal_Agenda  @wrw22  @simplistic1

 Im in a non union job and Im fine as are many other millions of US workers. They are no longer needed....you know it and I know it....besides just point some czar to look over it, there is a czar for everything else

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