Twinkies’ survival hangs in balance

Cherish those packages of Twinkies and Ding Dongs. A threatened strike by most of the more than 18,000 workers at Hostess Brands could spell the end of some of the most cherished snacks around.

Hostess, also the maker of Wonder Bread, Nature’s Pride Bread and an array of other baked products, wants to be able to ditch the company’s labor agreements with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers to cut costs. If it can’t, the company is telling a bankruptcy court judge in White Plains, N.Y., this week that it won’t have the cash to keep operating.

“All Hostess Brands operations would shut down and liquidation would begin,” the company said in a letter to employees obtained by CNN Money. “The 18,500 jobs, plus the health insurance that comes with them, would be lost for good.”

The union says it’s willing to work with management to bring down costs but has rejected Hostess’ efforts to change how union pensions are funded, CNN reported. The company also wants work rule changes to lower costs and outsourcing some delivery work.

The Associated Press reported the union has offered $150 million in concessions a year, including the suspension of pension contributions until next summer.

It’s uncertain how the judge will rule, but the Teamsters said 91 percent of members have already voted in favor of a strike if things go the company’s way – even if a strike drives Hostess out of business.

40 comments Add your comment

Frank Furter

April 17th, 2012
1:53 pm

1st…..HANG IN THERE TWINKIE MAKERS !!!!
http://www.reverbnation.com/notquitedevils

stuart

April 17th, 2012
2:07 pm

The last sentence is the reason that unions are evil and should be banned !!!

The Fatster

April 17th, 2012
2:07 pm

Twinkies are BAD for you. Read the label. Gross! Let ‘em go out of business.

creative

April 17th, 2012
2:08 pm

Gotta love unions… Were going to strike even if it means we all lose our jobs. Thank Zues that GA is a right to work state. I have worked on jobs where we could have fixed something in 2 minutes but we had to wait on a “Union Guy” (imagine a bad Northeastern accent) to come in and tighten the bolt of the machine we were working on. He was paid $300 to do something that we could’ve done for free. Thanks teamsters, you make this country great!!!

Jed

April 17th, 2012
2:08 pm

“…the Teamsters said 91 percent of members have already voted in favor of a strike if things go the company’s way – even if a strike drives Hostess out of business.”

This is a classic example of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Good luck getting a job elsewhere, Twinkie-makers. I wonder what unions are going to do when all their workers are laid off and there’s no one to pay dues for their ever-important job of shaking down–I mean fighting to protect the rights of the common worker.

creative

April 17th, 2012
2:09 pm

I do agree though. Twinkies and ding dongs are heinous

John Gotti

April 17th, 2012
2:13 pm

Another reason that Unions are bad news!

onechris

April 17th, 2012
2:13 pm

Need to go get some today and be ready to sell them on eBay! Go on strike!

Betty Crocker

April 17th, 2012
2:14 pm

I hear Little Debby makes a mean assortment of treats!

averageajcblogger

April 17th, 2012
2:17 pm

UNIONS ARE BAD. I DON’T KNOW WHY, BUT I KNOW THAT THEY ARE BAD.

JSH

April 17th, 2012
2:19 pm

Sounds a lot like Eastern Airlines to me. They were still striking a year after they put Eastern out of business. Stupid!

Crush the Unions

April 17th, 2012
2:28 pm

They should let the company fail. Walk away from the unions and their debtors. Then reopen new factories in a state that does not defend labor to the detriment of the company. As long as they own the recipe and the name. I am driving a Ford Mustang rental car this week which has a friendly sticker in the back window reminding me it was proudly built by the UAW. As I drivie it I think to myself if this is what union labor gets you we ban them entirely. They really are destroying our country industry by industry. Automotive, education, goverment services… THe minute the union gets involved cost goes up and quality goes down. Save the twinky!

RBM

April 17th, 2012
2:31 pm

Chalk up another victory (aka killing a viable business) for the unions. Teamsters execs need new jobs

Nobama

April 17th, 2012
2:31 pm

It was only a matter of time – The War on Twinkies!

JF McNamara

April 17th, 2012
2:31 pm

I don’t know anything other than what this article states about the situation, so I’ll blindly say that all unions are bad too. I’m certainly smarter than those actively involved in the process and the Union’s lawyers. Plus, if they say it on the radio, it must be true.

SnoopDog

April 17th, 2012
2:36 pm

I sure would miss my ho hos……

Bobo is Not the Problem

April 17th, 2012
2:38 pm

Leave it to the Teamsters to strike their employees out of business. Would rather try to make a point than to actually help their members. Priceless.

Astropig

April 17th, 2012
2:41 pm

You people blaming this on the unions are ignorant of the facts. No, I’m not a union member- I’m an investor. This company has been run into the ground by management,not union memebers. This is the second trip through Chapter 11 for Hostess Brands in the last 5 years (We call these a Chapter 22 for a little levity). Hostess Brands got a pantload of union concessions in the last re-org a few years back and still paid bonuses to the idiots at the top and retention money to the same people driving the bus when it crashed. If you want to find somebody to be mad at and blame this on, get in your time machine and go back to the 70’s and 80’s when the buccaneer pirates that ran this company made the unsustainable pension promises that have now wrecked the company’s balance sheet.What ? Can’t find them ? You say that they are long gone,living in their beach houses now that the bill is due ?

It’s not the union’s fault here. Stop letting other people do your thinking for you. You’d be surprised to see how smart YOU really are.

Greg

April 17th, 2012
2:48 pm

Not surprised to see these responses. All this anti-union rhetoric speaks of exactly what is wrong with America and the attitudes of the working men and women. Then again, I guess some people actually enjoy being the slaves for the corporate masters. A better man than I once said it best: “The Capitalist Machine Is Oiled With The Blood Of The Workers.” Before anyone asks, I am a middle-aged white male born and raised in and a life-long resident of what I still believe can be The Great State of Georgia.

PMC

April 17th, 2012
2:48 pm

Legacy Costs will spell the doom of many an American business.

The young generations are screwed.

PMC

April 17th, 2012
2:50 pm

Whenever the subject of collective bargaining comes up, I often wonder why it is so contentious.

Ward

April 17th, 2012
2:58 pm

“If you want to find somebody to be mad at and blame this on, get in your time machine and go back to the 70’s and 80’s when the buccaneer pirates that ran this company made the unsustainable pension promises that have now wrecked the company’s balance sheet.What ? Can’t find them ?”

No, but I can find the union guys that NOW, with the writing on the wall, refuse to renegotiate. We’ll see how strong the Union is when all their members are out of work. Another empty American factory. Thanks Teamsters!

brick

April 17th, 2012
3:01 pm

Let me see if I am understanding this. Union workers are refusing to make concessions which include retirment packages, wages, insurance and work conditions and will go on strike to keep them. But the company that is supplying those jobs, retirement packages, wages and insurance will go out of business if they don’t get concessions. That makes sense, benifit and wage your employer to bankruptcy and then go on strike when they can no longer afford to give the wages and benifits you have been getting. So that leaves you without a job, without insurance, without benifits. I would think a little cut in pay, a little smaller contribution to your retirment fund would be much better than being unemployed. Do people really follow unions so blindly? UAW basically priced the America auto industry out of business, 10k of benifits on every vehicle before the first bolt is installed.

Mitzymy

April 17th, 2012
3:03 pm

Unions are not bad. They are the life blood of the American worker. Management is the reason this company is operating in the red, they make the decisions on how the company operates. The employees just come to work and do their job and follow the rules. If it weren’t for unions, there would be no wage and hour laws, the companies would work people as long as they wanted and pay them whatever they wanted. Thanks to unions long ago, this can no longer be done. Unions are responsible for pensions, which the companies are now replacing with 401-k programs. The CEO’s of these companies make 10 times the amount of money that an average worker makes. So when you hate unions, you are hating the organizations that forced companies to treat their workers with respect.

Old timer

April 17th, 2012
3:06 pm

Typical union thugs…killed Eastern and many more

Jason

April 17th, 2012
3:13 pm

“The last sentence is the reason that unions are evil and should be banned !!!”

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Sounds like the Founding Fathers don’t agree with you.

Really?

April 17th, 2012
3:14 pm

Get rid of the unions huh? The Teamsters were the ones that stepped in and said enough. Hostess has slowly reduced our pay a little at a time. Four years ago they said take a 6000.00 pay cut. Take one for the team. We did. Then it was give a little more guys. Sorry we have to lower your commision pay too. We gave back 60 millions dollars a annually , and they still file for protection.(twice). The Dow Jones uncoverd the CEO was getting 3.8 million a year. Really crush the unions? How many of you people would stay at your jobs if they said you make 20.00 an hour but now its gonna be 16.00 dollars no wait we can only pay 12.00 an hour. Sorry you have worked here 13 yrs.We will go under if we pay you that much. BUT TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM !

Rational

April 17th, 2012
3:22 pm

1) You can blame both the unions and management for where the company is now. Long ago, management found it easier to reach agreement, and avoid strikes, to promise workers generous pension benefits instead of higher current wages. Management knew that they’d be long gone by the time the bill came due, and unions did not care whether the company could actually afford the benefits (and actuaries later allowed the company to make high assumptions about future returns to justify underfunding).

2) It is stupid of the union to run the company out of business, because the company (and the PBGC) are all there are to pay at least some of the promised benefits.

3) Fear not, Twinkies and Ho Ho’s will continue to be made. The brands and recipes will be sold to someone after the company fails, and they will live on.

Mel

April 17th, 2012
3:23 pm

Unions are a good thing gone bad. At one point they were needed. Yes, management shares some blame in the fiscal health of a company, but when you’re being threatened with strikes and other assorted actions that will tank the business, it’s hard not to give in to wild demands. Unfortunately the unions will almost always bite the hand that feeds them. Rarely are there union leaders that see that you can compromise and not be “losing.” I watched the non-union workers with GM get screwed for years, which did lead to the government bailout – because the unions wouldn’t give up anything.

Mr Smiley

April 17th, 2012
3:28 pm

@ Really?….By the way your entry is written I can tell you’re never going to be the CEO of any company…u know the guy who a) has either started the company from the ground up and gave people like you a job or b) the guy who used to work beside you when you first started and he propelled his way to the top with hard work and dedication while you were busy complaining about ‘work conditions’.

The problem with unions (and liberal thinking in general) is the expectation of entitlement rather than having the determination to DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF

LemonD

April 17th, 2012
3:37 pm

With thousands of people unemployed (me being one of them)…I would love to get a job there. Where do I apply??? I’m serious.

Waldo

April 17th, 2012
3:37 pm

Just goes to show that union members have, basically, been brainwashed into thinking it’s more important to stick it to the rich executives than it is to look our for their own self-interest. Newsflash: even if you strike and Hostess goes belly-up the rich executives will still be rich. The workers, on the other hand, will be tossed into the worst job market in a generation. At least they will have the satisfaction of telling themselves “We showed them, no way were we going to back down to their EVIL management demands!!” as they dine on their welfare cheese & butter.

Cupcake

April 17th, 2012
3:54 pm

The Hostess name and brands have enough staying power to make an easy comeback should this union decide to flex its muscle and send Hostess into bankruptcy. if this happens, Hostess should commit to never hiring back ANY of these union workers under any circumstances. They will have no problem finding workers once they get this union deal negated by bankruptcy court and resume normal operations.

Unions were created to protect workers during a time that industry could not be properly regulated. They are NOT necessary anymore in the USA! Today, any misdealings or mistreatements by companies become headlines in minutes with social media and online media.

beebee

April 17th, 2012
3:55 pm

O’h I’ve been wanting to tell my story for so long. My first hint of what a “union” was all about: Some mob-boss type woman told us workers about some lady who had gotten lectured or something because she would always go “get her coat” well before it was quitting time. And THAT was supposed to be one good reasson why we all needed to join the union, because workers ought to be able to STOP well before it’s time to go and get their coats!

WTF???????????

CJ

April 17th, 2012
4:05 pm

Ditto Astropig!
Well, I am Union member, a very proud UNION member…would not have it any other way.

Loved by dogs

April 17th, 2012
4:37 pm

And when the company gives up and decides to reopen in a foreign country, we can thank the unions for another loss. I agree that at one time unions were a good thing, but once they discovered the money to be made off of running them, the thugs, mobs, whoever, took them over. And then the good thing turned into a bad thing. So y’all go ahead and stand your ground, and when the company shuts you out, good luck finding jobs.

Steve

April 17th, 2012
4:38 pm

Unions are evil. One reason that I will not shop Kroger. Many of their employee’s are union. Many, many years ago, unions were put into place to improve working conditions and pay. They are now abused and a money maker for a few. Hate to see this happen to a company.

fenderman

April 17th, 2012
5:03 pm

It’s Little Debbie (not Debby)…

buying Twinkies on the way home…

Atlantarama

April 17th, 2012
5:29 pm

I’m a hard core liberal Democrat, and I agree unions are helping to ruin business in this country.

tom

April 17th, 2012
6:40 pm

Union anger with this company has been stifled for at least seven years. Given an opportunity to strike, these workers will strike with the joy of middle-east suicide bombers. Allah akbar!!!