Union: Twinkies Won't Die

Hostess in bankruptcy court today

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 19, 2012 4:34 AM CST | Updated Nov 19, 2012 7:12 AM CST

(Newser) – The union that Hostess blames for its collapse says Twinkies and other iconic snacks will live on. Hostess will present its plan to shut down plants and sell off its business to a bankruptcy judge today, but the chief of the the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers union says he believes a buyer will snap the brands up, the Wall Street Journal reports. "People are going crazy because they think they're not going to be able to get any Twinkies or Ho Hos or Wonder Bread," he says. "They'll be produced somewhere, some time, and by our members."

  • Hostess chief executive Gregory Rayburn, however, says that while the snacks may someday come back, the union can kiss those jobs goodbye forever. "Nobody wants to have anything to do with these old plants or these unions or these contracts," he says.
  • But hoarders may need to ration their supplies in the face of a long Twinkie-free period. "There's a huge amount of goodwill with the commercial brand name" so finding a buyer for the brand should be easy, a commercial bankruptcy expert tells the AP, but the liquidation and sale could take up to a year.
  • Is the union to blame for the demise of Hostess? Not according to Adam Hartung at Forbes, who says the collapse is the result of the company trying to sell the same old products with the same outdated business model for too many decades. "Labor, like other suppliers, has a 'market rate,'" he writes. "That management was unable to run a company which could pay the market rate for its labor is not the fault of the union."
  • Paul Krugman at the New York Times, meanwhile, links Hostess to today's economic debate. The company's collapse has awakened nostalgia for the "Twinkie Age" of the '50s, he writes, though many forget that it was an age when unions were much stronger, execs were paid a lot less, and the top rate of tax was no less than 91%. "America in the 1950s made the rich pay their fair share," he writes. "It gave workers the power to bargain for decent wages and benefits; yet contrary to right-wing propaganda then and now, it prospered."

Twinkies are likely to survive, even though their maker will be sold in bankruptcy court.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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