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Posts tagged "Hostess Strike"

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(via Matt Taibbi on MSNBC’s The Ed Show: Hostess’ ‘Incompetent’ Management Killed The Company)

A little liquidation scare is no reason to mess with Twinkies, according to Matt Taibbi.

The Rolling Stone contributor told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Monday that workers and their “pensions and benefits” are getting the blame for the possible Hostess shutdown instead of the company’s management, who, he says, is actually responsible for the Twinkie-maker’s woes.

“Everybody likes Twinkies, there’s nothing wrong with the product,” Taibbi said. “The workers are doing a good job, they’re putting out a good product — it’s that management has been incompetent, and it’s unfortunate that the narrative has shifted all the blame to the workers.”

Taibbi’s assessment of the situation isn’t universal, with many people blaming the company’s demise on the American consumer’s changing tastes.

Hostess announced Friday that the company planned to liquidate and lay off all of its 18,500 workers, citing an ongoing strike that the company claimed was crippling its operations. On Monday, a bankruptcy judge ordered that Hostess enter into mediation with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, the group representing the striking workers, saying that he had “serious questions as to the logic behind this strike.”

The Teamsters, the other union representing Hostess workers, agreed to major pay and pension cuts in September in an aim to save the company and their jobs, even though they had already taken a hit during the company’s first bankruptcy.

“It’s part of this overall mythology that we have to blame the workers for wanting benefits and wanting a living wage,” he said.

Hostess Brands and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union agreed to mediate on Monday, according to a tweet from CNBC. The agreement will reportedly prevent a Hostess liquidation, which the company announced Friday could be imminent.

The Bakers’ Union had been fighting a proposal to significantly cut worker pay and pensions, and Hostess claimed that the striking workers made it impossible for the company to produce its products.

h/t: Huffington Post

DETROIT (AP) — Twinkie lovers, relax.

The tasty cream-filled golden spongecakes are likely to survive, even though their maker will be sold in bankruptcy court.

Hostess Brands Inc., baker of Wonder Bread as well as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Ho’s, will be in a New York bankruptcy courtroom Monday to start the process of selling itself.

The company, weighed down by debt, management turmoil, rising labor costs and the changing tastes of America, decided on Friday that it no longer could make it through a conventional Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. Instead, it’s asking the court for permission to sell assets and go out of business.

But with high brand recognition and $2.5 billion in revenue per year, other companies are interested in bidding for at least pieces of Hostess. Twinkies alone have brought in $68 million in revenue so far this year, which would look good to another snack-maker.

Hostess has said it’s received inquiries about buying parts of the company. But spokesman Lance Ignon would not comment on analysts’ reports that Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods Inc. and private equity food investment firm Metropoulos & Co. are likely suitors. Metropoulos owns Pabst Brewing Co., while Flowers Foods makes Nature’s Own bread, Tastykake treats and other baked goods. Messages were left for spokesmen for both companies on Sunday.

"We think there’s a lot of value in the brands, and we’ll certainly be trying to maximize value, both of the brands and the physical assets," Ignon said Sunday. He said it’s possible some of Hostess’ bakeries will never return to operation because the industry has too much bakery capacity.

Then last week thousands of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike after rejecting the company’s latest contract offer. The bakers union represents about 30 percent of the company’s workforce.

By that time, the company had reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which this week urged the bakery union to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking. Although many bakery workers decided to cross picket lines this week, Hostess said it wasn’t enough to keep operations at normal levels.

The company filed a motion to liquidate Friday. The shuttering means the loss of about 18,500 jobs. Hostess said employees at its 33 factories were sent home and operations suspended. Its roughly 500 bakery outlet stores will stay open for several days to sell remaining products.

News of the decision caused a run on Hostess snacks at many stores around the country, and the snacks started appearing on the Internet at inflated prices.

h/t: AP.org

Rush Limbaugh is blaming President Obama for the fact that Hostess could not come to an agreement with its striking employees and decided lay off 18,500 employees by closing the plant. In Limbaugh’s mind, Obama has Twinkie blood on his hands.

Transcript from Rush Limbaugh:

Rush Limbaugh: Look, here I’m already being asked, “Are you gonna talk about Hostess?” Yeah, I’m gonna talk about Hostess. You know what, 18,500 people gone, Hostess Twinkies, Ding Dongs, shut down. Some people might think it’s a buy opportunity if you want to get in the Ding Dong business. But folks, if you need an indication that the Democrats will never compromise on anything, look at this. Hostess is going out of business because of unions. Now, that’s 18,500 jobs. You would think in this economy that somebody might want to show the ability to compromise if only to fool people. They won’t even compromise on this.

Unions are the Democrat Party. Trumka is at the White House again today. Won’t even compromise to save 18,500 jobs. Are you kidding me? Obama couldn’t step in here even for the optics of it? I mean, yesterday he saved New York. Today he could save Ding Dongs. He could save Twinkies, except at the White House Michelle’s probably celebrating, ’cause this is just rotten, no good food to her. But, see, I think they wanted this, folks. I think they wanted Hostess bye-bye. And you know why? They wanted this to happen because this is just going to create more dependents on unions and the government. It’s just gonna create more dependents. So this is all fine with Barry.

I know nobody understands me. I’m doing this program with a whole different mind-set now. Snerdley’s in there panicking. I’m saying mind-set. As I do this program I’m imagining how I’m being heard by all these uneducated, ill-educated, maleducated young people, and it’s fun, and I’m sure that they’re throwing daggers at their radio because they just heard me criticize Obama on this Hostess thing. Anyway it’s a funny thing. It’s actually a build-out on some of the things that we were discussing yesterday about the battles that we face really being cultural as well as, if not more than, politics. Anyway, the Hostess thing is what it is. It’s gone. We knew it was coming. It just illustrates there’s no desire to compromise.


Limbaugh’s blaming of Obama and unions leaves out a couple of important facts.

Hostess is dead due to Bain style management that has decided to maximize their profits by liquidating the company. In short, the “job creators” decided to make more money for themselves by killing 18,500 jobs.

If President Obama would have intervened, Limbaugh would have called him a socialist who hates the free market. Since Obama didn’t intervene, he is a socialist who is trying to create more dependents on the federal government. Either way, Rush Limbaugh’s psycho interpretation of The Day The Twinkies Died is complete and utter nonsense.

Unions didn’t kill Hostess, people who believe in the Mitt Romney school of management killed Hostess. America’s so-called job creators will pocket additional millions while 18,500 workers will be out of a job. Those are facts that Rush Limbaugh and right wing media bubble cronies don’t want to discuss.

h/t: PoliticusUSA

Today is a sad day for those that worked for Hostess Brands and for workers’ rights. 

Today is a sad day for those that worked for Hostess Brands and for workers’ rights. 

This morning, we have received tragic news that Hostess Brands will shut down, in retaliation for the striking workers standing up for their rights.

AP.org:

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Hostess Brands says it is going out of business, closing plants that make Twinkies and Wonder Bread and laying off all of its 18,500 workers.

The Irving, Texas, company says a nationwide worker strike crippled its ability to make and deliver its products at several locations.

Hostess had warned employees that it would file a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to unwind its business and sell assets if plant operations didn’t return to normal levels by Thursday evening.

Laura Clawson at Daily Kos on Hostess lying to its workers regarding the strike and closures:

Workers at more than 20 Hostess plants have gone on strike after overwhelmingly rejecting the company’s demands for major wage and benefits concessions. In response, Hostess is claiming that it may have to close plants because of the strike. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers union has a convincing argumentThat’s a lie, though.

Of course, right-wing loons will blame this on the unions.

#RIPHostess

(cross-posted from Daily Kos)

Hostess Brands said it likely won’t make an announcement until Friday morning on whether it will move to liquidate its business, after the company had set a Thursday deadline for striking employees to return to work.

The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread had warned employees that would file a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to unwind its business and sell off assets if plant operations didn’t return to normal levels by 5 p.m. EST Thursday. That would result in the loss of about 18,000 jobs.

A spokesman for Hostess, Lance Ignon, said the company would likely make an announcement Friday after assessing plant operations Thursday evening.

Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, has already reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. But thousands of members in its second-biggest union went on strike late last week after rejecting in September a contract offer that cut wages and benefits. Officials for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union say the company stopped contributing to workers’ pensions last year.

Hostess announced on Monday the closures of three bakeries due to the nationwide strike. The facilities employ 627 workers, according to the Associated Press.

A representative for the bakery-workers union did not respond to request for comment. The Teamsters meanwhile are urging the smaller union to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking. Citing its financial experts who had access to the company’s books, the Teamsters say that Hostess’ warning of liquidation is “not an empty threat or a negotiating tactic” but a certain outcome if workers continue striking.

The Teamsters also noted that the strike put its union members in the “horrible position” of deciding whether to cross picket lines.

Hostess, a privately held company, filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade. The company cited increasing pension and medical costs for employees as one of the drivers behind its latest filing. Hostess has argued that workers must make concessions for it to exit bankruptcy and improve its financial position.

As much as I like Twinkies and other Hostess brands, I think that the striking workers are right on this one. I stand with the striking workers! 

H/T: CBSNews.com