Twinkie Hoarding Has Begun

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

CEO Gregory Rayburn of Hostess Brands, maker of Twinkies, Ho Ho’s, and Sno Balls, has announced plans to liquidate the 83-year old company. The company is in its second bankruptcy in a decade. Hostess sold about $2.5 billion worth of snack products last year with Twinkies leading the pack. However, the company has nearly $1 billion in debt and has $2 billion in unfunded pension obligations.

About 18,000 jobs are at stake. The unionized employees are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM). BCTGM in September rejected a last, best and final offer from Hostess and went out on strike.

While Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn was planning to ask his employees for wage and benefit concessions, he was awarded a 300 percent raise (from approximately $750,000 to $2,550,000). Nine other top executives of the company received massive pay raises.

Over the eight years since the first bankruptcy, Hostess employees have watched as:

money from previous concessions that was supposed to go towards capital investment, product development, plant improvement and new equipment, was squandered in executive bonuses, payouts to Wall Street investors and payments to high-priced attorneys and consultants.

BCTGM stated that “Our members are on strike because they have had enough.” The union’s members voted 92% to reject the company’s “best and final offer.”

Hostess plans to sell its most popular brands like Twinkies, CupCakes, Ding Dongs, Ho Ho’s, Sno Balls, and Donettes. In the mean time, Hostess products are flying off store shelves.

Competitors like Bimbo Bakeries USA (pronounced “Beembo”), also employing union workers and the largest bakery corporation in the US, may be a likely purchaser of some of the Hostess brands.

H/T: LGM, Think Progress, Policy Mic, Sacremento Bee, WSJ, Courthouse News.

302 thoughts on “Twinkie Hoarding Has Begun

  1. Tony C:

    Jesus was all for productive labor. He was a carpenter after all before he walked on water.

    For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

    2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

    In all toil there is profit,
    but mere talk tends only to poverty.

    Proverbs 14:23

    Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
    Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
    she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.
    How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
    10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
    11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

    Proverbs 6:6-11

    And yes I know you can come up with admonitions for helping the poor.

  2. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

    2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
    —————————————————
    Bron, there is a world of difference between ‘willing’ and ‘able’ and most of the outcry today is not for money for nothing, it is for decent jobs and decent wages….in fact the ever rising ranks of those with 2,3 and sometimes 4 jobs just to maintain poverty level incomes is probably the reason for many abortions….and Jesus knows it……

  3. Bron: Actually, I was talking about the Biblical Jesus Christ, and you are not. Clearly those passages are not quoting Jesus Christ; they are other writers offering an opinion and interpretation.

    And Woosty is right; and I agree; if somebody CAN work they should, but there are reasons for being unable to work and earn a living, including old age, young age, illness, and a local economy in which no job is to be had. Even the inability to leave the local economy, due to lack of funds.

    Once again, we Lefties recognize those realities, the difference between being willing to work and FINDING work, and we believe the right thing to do is mediate the brutality of reality and help cover the gaps. We don’t like free riders any more than you do, we just aren’t going to throw good lives under the bus on the off-chance a free rider gets through once in a while. Some risks are worth taking.

  4. Woosty:

    I wish the economy was better too. But I just saw a report on the number of skilled jobs that are not being filled because there are not enough people with those skills. Jobs like welders, machinists, electricians, HVAC repair, auto mechanics.

    Everybody wants to go to college and thinks that is the way to a better life. It is a myth.

  5. Bron
    1, November 23, 2012 at 9:29 am
    Woosty:

    I wish the economy was better too.
    —————-
    wriggle wriggle wriggle….blah

  6. @Bron: Associates degrees (first two years of college) are available for welder, machinist, electrician. My university has junior college affiliates so those credits will transfer toward Bachelor’s degrees in appropriate fields, even if some transfer as electives.

    I would (and have) recommended that route for numerous high school graduates; including my daughter: Arrange to receive an applicable degree every two years. Her first degree, for example, was an associate’s degree as a paralegal. Or for another family member, an associate’s in computer programming before a bachelor’s in computer science. You can become an electrician on the way to becoming an electrical engineer, a mechanic on the way to becoming a mechanical engineer. Practicality first.

    @Bron: Everybody wants to go to college and thinks that is the way to a better life. It is a myth.

    No, it is not a myth. Statistics contradict you, people with degrees and credentials make more money, period, they do less physical labor, period, they have more professional flexibility and are more satisfied with their work life, period. We would have to redefine “a better life” for that to be false.

    The statistics report what Logic alone should tell us: If a person without a degree could land and perform in a job, that ability is not sabotaged in any way by them learning more in college. Credentials can only increase their flexibility and their options, and that translates into a “better life” of doing more of what they want and less of what they don’t want.

    A four year degree lets somebody be a public school teacher or a military officer, jobs not available to those without them. A Master’s degree trumps a Bachelor’s on a resume. A PhD lets somebody become a full professor at a four year university; if that is your goal you need one. And you might be able to pass the bar without a J.D., but if you want to be a lawyer for a living, you best attend a law school. If you want to be a medical doctor, you best attend medical school. A “better life” is doing what you want to do, if somebody wants to be an M.D. then college leads them to “a better life.”

    The reality of the world is that credentialism and GPA works. Having been on the employer-side of the interview desk, I want to see that the degree was earned with a decent GPA, and it is a long shot to spend time and effort trying to learn if somebody can do the job without it.

    I am no different than the vast majority of employers; we have to make shallow snap judgments to winnow twenty candidates to four worth interviewing, and this is how we all do it. If I see a misspelled word on a resume, it goes in the NO pile; If I see information unrelated to any job, it goes in the NO pile; if I see them trying to inflate their work experience, it goes in the NO pile (Paper boy does not count as an “entrepreneurial CEO experience,” and nobody was the “Chief Operating Officer” of the fry station.)

    The business world is necessarily shallow. Finishing even an associate’s degree with a 3.0 GPA or better really does prove something about the person. Namely that they are capable of learning something and achieving what they are told matters in the way they are told to do it, not just what they think matters and how they think it should be done. I do not want the latter working for me. My employees do not get to do things their way unless they can prove first that they know the old way backward and forward, because they will have to explain precisely why their way is superior to the old way. They cannot do that unless they know the old way, and finishing their degree with a high GPA shows me that foundation is (probably) there.

    College matters, and by any definition of “a better life” I can think of, it certainly increases the chances of achieving that.

  7. Tony C:

    “We don’t like free riders any more than you do, we just aren’t going to throw good lives under the bus on the off-chance a free rider gets through once in a while. Some risks are worth taking.”

    Who do you consider a free rider?

  8. Tony C:

    If you become a welder, you can make over $60,000 per year. If you own a fabricating shop you can probably make over $100,000. Same with plumbers and electricians and HVAC techs. Highly trained machinists the same.

    Only about 30% of the population has a college degree and most college degrees are not in the sciences. About 75,000 engineering Bachelors degrees are awarded every year. Not all are to Americans.

    Unless you go into management the top salary for an engineer is around $150,000 per year. Easily obtainable by a plumber or electrician who does their own thing.

  9. College is a preparation for working for the “man”. Learn how to take orders and become a zombie worker. Dont think, just do. Perfect little automatons in service to corporations.

    But then since you are in academia, you have a dog in that fight.

  10. @Bron: A free rider is a person that violates the spirit and intent of a law (or actually commits a fraud) for personal gain.

    Receiving a social security disability check when one has an actual disability presented realistically is not free riding; receiving one by exaggerating the disability, pretending it is worse than it is, or faking a disability is free riding.

    Using roads that the public fully intended to be used by anybody is not free riding, using Medicaid because one really is a Walmart worker on the edge of poverty is not free riding.

    When the public favors a program, especially by a wide margin, they intend for it to help certain recipients. A free rider is somebody gaining personal benefits from the social safety net under false pretenses, or even without that, under circumstances where the majority of citizens that were in favor of that particular social safety net would plausibly consider this particular beneficiary as cheating the system or exploiting an unintended loophole or flawed language in the law that should be corrected.

    I personally consider it free riding when somebody cheats on their taxes, they are aiming to get the benefits and protections of living in their country, state, and county without paying for the full ride.

    We (Leftists) want people to work and pay their way if they can, and we want to help those that cannot, either temporarily or permanently. We want people to get a fair start in life, with nutrition, safety, health care and education, regardless of how well or badly their parents have done in the economic lottery. That is our intent, and unfortunately it is difficult to craft law and policy and language that properly divides people into those two categories with 100% certainty, especially in the presence of corruption and political influence by those that care only about themselves.

  11. @Bron: I’ve worked for myself practically from the beginning, so twelve years of college didn’t teach ME to work “for the man.” In fact, I believe it taught me the opposite, to have little respect for anything other than ideas. College taught me to disrespect credentials; because I met many a PhD that was just stupidly dogmatic (and I still think so). So did my work experience, I met many a CEO I considered just stupidly dogmatic as well.

    For me it was college that demythologized the world class scientists like Newton, Bohr, Einstein and others, that showed me their errors, prejudices and human foibles, dumb statements and dumb beliefs. And in particular that all that didn’t matter, because what matters is individually perfected ideas and arguments, not the swamp from which they sprang.

    College doesn’t teach kids to work for the man. College frees kids by giving them the power to see reality as it is, and it gives them options to exercise in avoiding “the man” and finding instead a collaborative workplace with a manager that listens to reason.

  12. Bron,

    Tony is correct. College is the place where most people gain critical thinking skills. That’s hardly preparation for “working for the man”. In fact, it’s usually antithetical to taking orders without question. However, there is a training regimen that does create that kind of worker but it isn’t academia.

    And what raff said.

    I want to know why these guys aren’t being charged with larceny.

  13. @Nal: Wow, good catch with that article. Then …. sigh. As the article says, a very good argument for social security.

  14. http://youtu.be/k5_NI2CFdPU (from the Juan Cole link posted by Nal)

    ” In turn, the money inevitably supported the executives’ own bonuses. (This practice is not illegal in the US, just tacky.) -Juan Cole

    If it isn’t illegal, it should be.

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