RIP Twinkie

Hostess the maker of Ding Dongs and Twinkies are closing their doors today. 18,500 people just lost their jobs.

I will miss the Twinkie. RIP

Yeah no more orange cupcakes (which were far superior to the regular ones) and a bunch of jobs down the drain. :frowning:

That’s a lot of people out of work, my sympathies to the affected. On the bright side, we won’t have to worry about Twinkie shortages for at least another 50 or 60 years. We’re still eating the ones they made in 1952 and working our way forward.

I sympathize with the workers… I wonder if management were going to take the same 8% pay cut they were asking of the people lower down on the corporate ladder. I know pay cuts on the most numerous employees are what really affect the bottom line, but it sure would go a long way toward good will and cooperation, I would think.

As for the products; I couldn’t care less. I think I used to get Little Debby oatmeal pies in my lunch box as a kid… but really… it’s junk food. And the “I-Wonder-Why-They-Didn’t-Finish-Baking-it” bread is just nasty.

I suspect this has far more to do with the company’s demise than how much they pay their staff.

Yes, yes. The management mismanaged…blah,blah,blah.

But, oh, the union has a lot of blame in this one.

They shot themselves in the foot by choosing to go on a strike in this one. Hostess was already financially in distress. You wonder why unions get a bad name and are shrinking in this country? It’s because of idiocy like this.

Also, to my knowledge, Little Debbie is alive and well and has nothing to do with Hostess. Their company’s not too far away from me.

Even the main Teamster’s union, told them to hold a secret ballot, and call it off, because the union’s own financial gurus, said the company was up shit creek without the proverbial paddle. It’s been in trouble for a long time, and they’ve been down the pay cut road, before, apparently. But it obviously didn’t work. Sale are falling, which isn’t surprising if the bread they make is crap.

Still, it’s bloody bad news for an awful lot of folk.
Good luck to them.
Vic

It’s not bread, exactly, more like the kind of sweet cake often mixed into trifle.
But in the center of this round cake is 2 ounces of sugary, fluffy, whale pus. :mrgreen:

I took that as a reference to “Wonder Bread”, where a whole loaf can be compacted into a pellet the size of which a deer might produce.

Reading the media pundits’ pronouncements on this affair, it would seem that, even with the proliferation of depressed markets everywhere you look, the market for snacky-junk food-crap appears to be a buoyant one. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, that a buyer could emerge. But, as is often the case, it could be the Brand name & Order book they’re after, and not the production facilities and staff.

Even if a buyer is found for the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle, unlike Hostess, who apparently weren’t trying it on, you can bet y’ bottom dollar/quid/scheckel, the new buyer will. The workforce will be presented with a fait accompli, and, as usually, whatever the rationale behind the decision, it’ll be accepted. albeit, reluctantly.

Human nature being what it is, the mind that decided, enough was enough, and took a principled, but naive stand, despite the almost inevitable outcome, will, accept the new terms and conditions proffered by the potential buyer, as a necessary expedient. C’est le vie :frowning:

I’ve been curious about the circumstances, so did some googling… it turns out that not long before they started demanding that the union folks take yet another pay & benefits cut, the CEO and several executives gave themselves raises. 600% pay increases in some cases, and a mere 200% pay increase in another. While the company was headed for bankruptcy.

I worked for a data mining company for 10 years. When a recession hit us particularly hard, The CEO and all managers took pay cuts. Everyone else’s pay was frozen. We weren’t a union shop (is there any American company that’s primarily IT-based?), they didn’t have to do it that way, and we were all getting pretty good salaries for the job market in our town…

I’ve said it before: The salaries of ten people at the top don’t have nearly the same impact as those of the bottom 95% of worker pay, and benefits are also huge money sinks. But if management had been devoted to making the company stronger, do you really think they’d have given themselves such huge raises? A good boss sacrifices along with the rest of the workers.

Seems as though, ‘principled decisions’, are the order of the day. :confused:

Or pimpled decisions, if you eat too much of the product.

The situation was a little more nuanced than even that. From what I understood, there was in fact a concerted effort to clean up the company and that the CEO that had lead to the mess had left, and a new CEO was working to rectify the financial mess and disparity between executive pay and the rest. He dumped all of the executive’s salaries to $1 to compensate for the gross overpay in the past, and drafted a new system that would turn over 25% of the company to the employees, restoring pensions, a 100m bond package that would go to the employees, the unions would be given two seats on the board—basically a peachy deal. The teamsters were pretty much happy with the idea. There were some benefit and pay cuts to make all of this work, but they were okay with that. It would have turned Hostess into one of the largest partially employee owned corporations in the world.

But despite this, there was one small union (Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union) that felt too aggrieved over the past sins of the company and seemed determine to essentially put a gun to its head (and everyone else’s) for that and pull the trigger. From what I can tell, they weren’t honestly making a rational deal. The math on their demands would have destroyed the company in six months or bankrupted it immediately with a strike, those were the choices they were willing to go with. And that’s how it went down.

Whatever the case, it’s going to be a strange loss for the rest of us. Convenience stores have been dotted with Hostess packages for I would wager most of our entire lives. I can’t say I’ll miss the crap, they were a part of the obesity problem in this country if you ask me, I feel sorry for the people involved but in a way I’m kind of glad of it. I’d feel the same way if a major soda pop company collapsed. But it will be weird without the familiar rows of their snack food around.

Interesting… I’ve had a hard time finding any substantive articles that don’t seem to have an axe to grind either for or against unions in general. Still, I’m not sure I understand where the CEO’s most recent pay raise fits into all this, but I’m not invested in this tale deeply enough to untangle it’s threads.

Where did you find your info, Ioa? I’d be interested enough to peruse a couple more sources before I’m done with the subject.

curiouser and curiouser.
When I was a shop steward, as an officer of the union, I was left in no doubt at all, as to where my duty lay. My duty to the union members, was to advise them, to the best of my ability, which course of action was in their best interest. This doesn’t appear to be the case with the union reps, of the BCTWGMIU.

It will be interesting to see what else is revealed, as the saga unfurls.
Vic

Yeah, it’s a volatile issue. I tend to side with the unions in most cases–well, I think the whole situation is screwed up. I’m not a big fan of free market, but in a free market unions are probably the best form of quality-of-life control we can exert. Anyway, this is a pretty good article that gets into some of the nitty gritty and doesn’t try to take a side. That’s August of this year, so it doesn’t contain some of the aftermath information. Hostess.info has a lot of that. Of course if you want to get deep into the details, much of this is a matter of public record; the filings and all that. I’m not nearly interested enough to wade through a million pages of lawspeak though.

I think the main thing though is that the bakery union involved felt that this particular case would have cost them too much strategic cachet to lose. Perhaps they are facing battles with other companies and making an example out of Hostess will help them wrest back control from dire situations in other companies. I’m not willing to paint them as being evil, like some are. Now they have a reputation for holding their own even when 18.5k jobs are on the line, a nationally significant number. Let’s hope they use that power for the best.

Warra feckin mess!

Our revels now are ended.
These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.
This is such stuff
As nightmares are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

A sleep, wherein lies the rub.

Do those 18.5k employees feel well-represented now? I’m generally pro-union as well, but it’s stories like these that hurt an already damaged image of unions in this country. When union’s interests and employees’ interests are not the same, something’s wrong.

In any well run, unionised organisation, compromises and quid pro quo s between employer and employees abound. Nowhere within a union’s remit, is there the right to sacrifice the jobs of one workforce, in order to enhance its negotiating stance with other companies it’s in negotiations with. I can’t see it as being the case, here. If that were so, then no work force could feel that their best interests would automatically be safeguarded by that union, they couldn’t. If the potential is there for the union to use them as a sacrificial lamb, in order to further its endeavours elsewhere, then who would want that union to represent them in the first place. I certainly wouldn’t. If that were the case, then I can see a class action court case ensuing. 18000 workers taking the union to court for malfeasance.

Based on evidence we’ve seen on this forum, the union has ill served its members.
Vic

Well in this particular case the union that refused to deal represented 5,000 of the 18.5k employees, so it’s not like 18.5k people were on strike. It was the bakers on strike, and there isn’t much distribution and packaging to do if you don’t have Twinkies to ship. Still, 5,000 sacrifices for whatever stand they were making is a lot.