Thursday, November 15, 2012

No More Twinkies!?

When the Unions screwed over GM and Chrysler, I was upset.  When the Unions attempted to jeopardize our military by striking against Lockheed Martin, I was incensed (also, got some results, however minor).  When the Unions forced American Airlines into bankruptcy, I decried them.  But this is simply a bridge to far.

They are now imperiling my Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes. 

Hostess declared bankruptcy back in January.  Since then, they have been attempting to restructure both their debt and their organization.  The Unions, however, have fought them the whole way.  It seems they would rather have 100% of nothing, than 50% of something.  So, yesterday, Hostess CEO Greg Rayburn said that the company would liquidate its holdings if striking workers did not return to work by the end of business today.

That's over 18,000 jobs gone.  Not to mention the Twinkie, Hostess Cupcakes, Zingers, and other fine pastries.  Beyond the 18,000 jobs (and my precious cupcakes), there will be a ripple effect from this causing ancillary damage to the economy.  How many tons of flour must Hostess use in a day?  How many tons of butter, eggs, sugar, and other ingredients?  How many gallons of fuel do they use in their trucks?  Then there is their equipment which requires regular maintenance and replacement.

I'm not sure who is more to blame, here.  Hostess, the union workers, or the union bosses.  In the case of AMR, for instance, I know that AMR executives wasted a lot of good will when they got concessions from their unions several years ago, and then went ahead and paid bonuses to their executives.  So I can at least understand where the unions are coming from in that dispute, even if I think they're being self-destructive.  I have heard no such stories about Hostess, however.

Then there are the union workers.  Surely they're hearing what the company is saying?  Surely they realize that any job is better than none, and that it's better than a few hundred people get laid off (which means they would continue to collect unemployment, be eligible for COBRA, etc.) than for the company to completely liquidate (in which case none of those things is true)?  Why would they continue striking?

And finally there are the union bosses.  They, as always, are in it only for themselves.  They don't care about those jobs lost, they only care about those union dues, and you can bet union membership won't expire just because someone's job is gone.  Teamsters will keep their union membership up to date if they want to get another truck driving job elsewhere.  Same with the bakers' union.  And so on.  It's no skin of the union's nose if all of those jobs are gone, they still get their money.

It seems to me that union workers would wise up, here.  The Union bosses are not looking out for them, they're simply looking for a payday.  The company isn't looking out for them either, but it is more in the company's best interest to look out for the workers than it is in the Union's.  Be skeptical of both, but the one who is proving more trustworthy here is Hostess.

I hope this is resolved without loss of my beloved cupcakes.  But, if it's not, I side with the company.  What cannot continue will not, and if the union workers and union bosses refuse to acknowledge that simple fact, then I have no sympathy for them.


  1. Allen,

    I live in STL so I talked to my dad yesterday about the strike (he's usually well informed about these issues.) He says they're striking over pay cuts that a bankruptcy judge put into place. That effectively makes this a wildcat strike. (Also it's a kind of a stupid strike. A judge decreed this is what Hostess can pay, where do they think extra cash is coming from.)

  2. I think they have this idea that everybody above middle management is swimming in so much cash they can't even keep up with it. The Michael Moore worshipping freak I work with seems to think Scrooge McDuck diving into a vault full of gold is representative of reality.

  3. If it is any consolation, TwinkiesTM, ZingersTM, et al. should be considered assets and the name/recipe can be purchased by another bakery/bigfood and will be back on shelves. :) NewEnglandDevil