Tag Archives: Hostess

Twinkies strike back: Unions are weakening

After the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Gran Millers International Union attempted to extort Hostess out of unfair and expensive concessions, union workers will be left out of jobs as twinkies return to production.

NBCNEWS.COM reports that “Twinkies are coming back—but under a new management that vows to use nonunion workers.”

A third of Hostess’ production was union labor, but after union members struck, the manufacturer had no choice but to close and reorganize.

Business experts like Alan James of Pace University say, “Unions have been very good in the past making sure we have benefits like maternity leave, but their leadership continues to think only of themselves and not their members.”

Doubting the value of unions, James continued saying “Why should I pay dues when I don’t see any positive results?’

History professor Daniel Opler feels that the Hostess showdown showed the weakness of unions.

“There’s no question the bakers union that rejected a settlement made a tactical error here,” he said.

Unions have pushed several showdowns in recent years. Often asking for concessions that would leave companies unable to compete.

States are empowering workers to ditch expensive union dues by enacting right-to-work laws and workers are supporting them in ever increasing numbers.

Business analyst James Alan said feels that low membership rates could indicate that unions are weakening.

Dear Hostess Workers, How’s that Job Search Coming?

Hostess twinkiesThe buyout firms Apollo Global Management, LLC and Metropoulos & Co. have agreed to purchase the Hostess and Dolly Madison cake brands, including Twinkies. Recall that after the Hostess company closed its plants and declared bankruptcy after its unions went on strike in November.

The proposed buyout includes the brands, bakeries and some of the equipment but requires bankruptcy court approval before the sale will be final.

The new buyers promise to bring back the popular Hostess products including Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and HoHos. They also state that they will be providing jobs around the country. However, it is unknown how many of the 18,500 former Hostess workers will find work as the buyers plan to outsource distribution and produce snacks in existing bakeries causing union promises of replacement jobs to be in question.

Read more at ABC.com.


Last minute Twinkie talks fail – Hostess likely to go bankrupt

After  a doomed attempt for a bankruptcy court to hold last-minute talks between the Baker’s union and the treat maker, Hostess will be back in court on Wednesday while a judge decides if it can shut down for good.

The emergency talks between Hostess and The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union failed to yield any compromise from the union that would allow Hostess to continue operations.

The meeting was set when the judge decided that the two groups had not yet attempted private mediation. In a last ditch attempt to save 18,000 jobs, the two sides agreed to meet one final time.

In a statement following the meeting, Hostess said that the mediation “was unsuccessful” and offered no further comment in order to comply with mediation rules.

Americans have been choosing the treats offered by the snack maker on a declining basis which was why the restructuring of labor costs was necessary to continue.

The union has pointed at Hostess’ management failures as the cause for the company’s failure despite the $2.5 billion per year in revenues brought in.

Disagreements between the unions also put the Baker’s unions claims into question. The Teamsters had asked the Bakers to hold a secret ballot to see if their members preferred the prospect of losing their jobs altogether or a pay and benefit cut. The Baker’s union declined even as many of their own members crossed picket lines – unfortunately, not enough to keep the company going.

There are several rumored buyers as Hostess has many successful products. Twinkies alone bring in an estimated $68 million per year. As many of the buy rumors are from private equity companies who are likely to sell off the assets to whomever they can. With the snack industry having more production capacity than demand requires, the sold-off plants are unlikely to see employees return to work and whoever buys the product lines will likely produce them at their facilities.

Still Hope for the Twinkie!

Hostess Brands, maker of the Twinkie and Snowball, returned to bankruptcy court today prepared to begin liquidation of all assets. Instead they announced that the company will enter mediation for one last try with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union.

Whether this was a brilliant marketing ploy or truly ‘a one last chance’ opportunity, it may be that the Twinkie will survive!

The BCTGM workers represent one-third of the Hostess workforce. All 18,500 jobs will be permanently eliminated if the Baker’s Union refuses to reconsider their position. They have only 24 hours to make their decision.

From the Hostess Brands Website: Hostess Brands Inc. announced today that it will follow a request from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to enter a confidential mediation on Tuesday with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM).

Today’s hearing to consider Hostess Brands’ motion to wind down the Company and sell all of its assets has been adjourned until 11 a.m., EST, on Wednesday.

Production remains shut down.

Toys, Tech and Twinkies: When unions go awry

The news is ripe with new union pushes for more rights, more benefits more money, fewer cuts, less hardship… all regardless of what the economy is doing. A lack of inexpensive toys, electronics and dessert food may be the cost of union member’s demands that they get more of everything while the rest of middle-to-low income America is earning less.

Unions have never been great students of economics. The fact that our current President and Senate Majority Leader pay them so much homage shows that perhaps our federal government also does not fully comprehend how a real free economy actually functions.

Next Friday, “Black Friday” as it is called, is the beginning of profitability for many retailers. Now, many union-influenced Wal-Mart employees are planning a massive walkout just as many American consumers are preparing to do the bulk of their holiday shopping.

Unions aren’t only going after toys and electronics. Twinkies, cupcakes, ho hos, ding dongs, suzy q’s, sno balls, zingers and danishes may all cease to exist once Hostess decides to close its doors. While Hostess has reached an agreement with it’s teamsters union, the baker’s union is holding the company hostage. Hostess has asked for a 4% overall pay cut to deal with the downturn in the economy and the unions have refused. As of 5pm today, the highly-specialized Twinkie bakers of hostess had not yet agreed to return to work – Hostess has said that it can no longer afford the union’s demands and will seek to close the company and sell all assets.

The Irving, Texas-based company employs about 18,300 people nationwide and filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade. Hostess cited increasing pension and medical costs for employees as one of the drivers behind its latest filing.

In economic downturns, many Americans have had to take less pay, fewer benefits, jobs that offer less or no job at all. Who does the baker’s union think buys Twinkies? With Hostess in its second bankruptcy, it is more likely that union demands will drive it out of business and the “bakers” will have to find work elsewhere – if they can. As Hostess employee Marty Raymond put it, “I’m 59 years old. I’d like to get five more years, and I’ve been working with all these workers all these years and they just don’t want to listen. They listen to the union.”

With all the talk of “shared sacrifice” from the President, the unions are looking like the most greedy of all. The economy is struggling and so are most Americans. To have a certain segment of the population decide that they deserve more while the rest of us do with less is greed – pure and simple. What’s worse is that less than 20% of the Hostess workforce is on strike – the rest will lose their jobs over union demands.

Wal-Mart employees are important because the store won’t operate without managers, stockers, cashiers and receivers. While they are free to voice their grievances  their jobs are not so highly-specialized that it will be difficult to replace them – especially in today’s job market. I am not sure that Twinkie bakers are much more specialized as the recipe is standardized, repeatable and could probably be shepherded through the automated cycle by anyone that prefers a paycheck over unemployment assistance.

The Hostess jobs are the type that could easily be moved to other countries. It requires no special education, no lengthy training, no licensing or certifications. The FDA wouldn’t care if the Ho Ho’s were made here or Mexico as long as the ingredients and methods stayed the same.

Unions are an out-moded idea. During the early 20th century they helped raise awareness and combat worker abuses. Now they just seek higher compensation than the market would otherwise dictate. Seriously, if there were a huge need for dessert cake bakers, wages would rise on their own so processed food cookeries could attract the best talent. Oddly, that’s not happening so the unions have to step in to artificially inflate wages and benefits.

If turning a blind-eye to the free market economy weren’t enough, the National Labor Relations Board – a highly-political government organization – is expected to force businesses to give personal information to unions:

The National Labor Relations Board is expected to start work on a rule that would force businesses to turn over workers’ phone numbers, emails and shift times to union organizers.

In the end, the average American family loses. Some will find Wal-Marts with long lines or closed doors on the heaviest shopping day of the year. Other’s will find their jobs ended by a few greedy union leaders bent on absolute rule over the economy.

The End of the Twinkie?

Picture courtesy Wikimedia

This could be it. The end of the Hostess Twinkie. Of course, those still in their packages may last forever, but it’s possible there will be no more Twinkies.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union (BCTGM) has gone on strike against manufacturer Hostess. The company announced today they will file for liquidation if striking employees do not return to work by the end of the day. According to Hostess:

“We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, the Company’s Chairman and CEO. “Therefore, if sufficient employees do not return to work by 5 p.m., EST, on Thursday to restore normal operations, we will be forced to immediately move to liquidate the entire Company, which will result in the loss of nearly 18,000 jobs. It is now up to Hostess’ BCTGM represented employees and Frank Hurt, their international president, to decide if they want to call off the strike and save this Company, or cause massive financial harm to thousands of employees and their families.”

The BCTGM response claims that Hostess has had significant mismanagement from the top down claiming that the six CEO’s in the past eight years have had no bread and cake baking industry experience. According to the union website the workers and their union have ‘absolutely no responsibility for the failure of this company.’

“I am sure that our members would be agreeable to return to work as soon as the company rescinds the implementation of the horrendous wage and benefit reductions, including pension, and the restoration of the cuts that have already taken place.”

One has to wonder how much better off the Hostess workers will be filing for unemployment next week? Is no job better than a salary reduction? Across the country many industry workers have taken sizable cuts rather than losing their job. Is the union forcing workers to ‘cut off their nose to spite their face?’