Union Busters of the 21st Century!

[size=16]A far-flung dozen years from the year 2000, the mighty corporat that created an artificial food-pellet had a great conflict with its human workers. Rather than deal with the cartel of carbon-based laborers, the corporation decided to vanish entirely...

...OR DID IT?

Clones of the corporat's satraps created a new corporation, purchasing the food-pellet formula and the machines on which to create them, and hiring different, unterclass humans to operate the machines.[/size]

Hostess is getting ready to liquidate. I hereby predict that a new corporation whose principals will have links to the Hostess bosses will be the holder of the Hostess brands.

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:

Hostess is getting ready to liquidate. I hereby predict that a new corporation whose principals will have links to the Hostess bosses will be the holder of the Hostess brands.

Yup. The brand is intact. This is just a way to reorganize the company without having to pass muster in front of a bankruptcy court.

I may lean libertarian, but I'm a product of the working class first. 30+ years of this has made me more than a bit cynical.

The management offered 25% of the company to the unions in exchange for the concession. Perhaps the Unions could buy the company and it could be run by the employees?

Greg wrote:

The management offered 25% of the company to the unions in exchange for the concession. Perhaps the Unions could buy the company and it could be run by the employees?

Where are you getting that information? The only articles I read are lean on what management was asking for or offering beyond cuts. That and the fact that management stopped funding their pension fund about a year ago.

GioClark wrote:

Where are you getting that information? The only articles I read are lean on what management was asking for or offering beyond cuts. That and the fact that management stopped funding their pension fund about a year ago.

I saw it here at a site called hostessstrike.info.

The BCTGM [Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union] in September rejected a last, best and final offer from Hostess Brands designed to lower costs so that the Company could attract new financing and emerge from Chapter 11. Hostess Brands then received Court authority on Oct. 3 to unilaterally impose changes to the BCTGM’s collective bargaining agreements.

Hostess Brands is unprofitable under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs. The offer to the BCTGM included wage, benefit and work rule concessions but also gave Hostess Brands’ 12 unions a 25 percent ownership stake in the company, representation on its Board of Directors and $100 million in reorganized Hostess Brands’ debt.

(Unsurprisingly, the BCTGM website is currently down with an "exceeded bandwidth limit" message.)

We need a snack cake bail out!

CannibalCrowley wrote:

We need a snack cake bail out!

Saputo of Canada owns the Canadian rights.

The running joke this morning was that we will be filling the demand in a prohibition like fashion and turning a nice dollar!

Twinkie runs.

Noted commie rag Forbes writes:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/helaineo...

Hostess has been sold at least three times since the 1980s, racking up debt and shedding profitable assets along the way with each successive merger. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2004, and again in 2011. Little thought was given to the line of products, which, frankly, began to seem a bit dated in the age of the gourmet cupcake. (100 calorie Twinkie Bites? When was the last time you entered Magnolia Bakery and asked about the calorie count?)

As if all this were not enough, Hostess Brands’ management gave themselves several raises, all the while complaining that the workers who actually produced the products that made the firm what money it did earn were grossly overpaid relative to the company’s increasingly dismal financial position.

Thanks Katy. I guess we'll just have to wait for a second opinion. And not from Fox

I'm glad these workers rejected what they thought was a lousy deal. 92% is a pretty damning margin.

GioClark wrote:

And not from Fox ;)

Let me guess what they'll say... "just goes to show that the &@*% unions are bad for business".

I was not too far off:

Fox News[/url]]A small union's stubbornness in contract talks with Hostess is being blamed for the shutdown of one of America's snack food icons, the loss of 18,500 jobs just before the holiday season and much-needed tax revenue from hundreds of plants and shops across the country.

(They do go on to quote the union president:)

The company announced earlier in the week that the ax would fall on Friday if the strikers didn’t get back to work, but the union didn’t blink. BCTGM President Frank Hurt said Thursday that the crisis was the "result of nearly a decade of financial and operational mismanagement" and charged management was scapegoating workers to allow the Wall Street investors who own Hostess to sell.

Tastykake rules!

/throws brick through Hostess factory window

It rather interesting really. There are two unions involved in this. The bigger teamster union avoided the strike because they were afraid of this happening. While the smaller bakers union just went through with it. Honestly though from everything I read about the company they were planning to do this for a while now. The executives game themselves huge wage increase and bailed, while making cuts everywhere else. Hell and the market for cheap foodstuffs is completely over saturated these days, they said so themselves. The strike was basically the last straw.

Not so strange really. Everybody knows what a twinkie is but who the hell actually eats them...

master0 wrote:

It rather interesting really. There are two unions involved in this. The bigger teamster union avoided the strike because they were afraid of this happening. While the smaller bakers union just went through with it. Honestly though from everything I read about the company they were planning to do this for a while now. The executives game themselves huge wage increase and bailed, while making cuts everywhere else. Hell and the market for cheap foodstuffs is completely over saturated these days, they said so themselves. The strike was basically the last straw.

Not so strange really. Everybody knows what a twinkie is but who the hell actually eats them...

I honestly think I've never had one.

Joe Louis on the other hand.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos._Louis

Originally, Twinkies came from molds used to make a cream-filled shortcake intended to be served with strawberries at a bakery or restaurant, making a sort of finger-cake strawberry shortcake. Probably the recipe was a bit different. But that actually sounds pretty good to me.

The management offered 25% of the company to the unions in exchange for the concession. Perhaps the Unions could buy the company and it could be run by the employees?

The workers at this company were forced into self-funded pensions a few years ago... that is, they had to save all the money in their pensions themselves, with no help from the company.

And then Hostess stole their pension money, and doesn't have to return it, according to the bankruptcy judge. One of the terms of the 'deal' they were offering was that they got to keep all that money they stole. So of course the workers didn't take the deal.

What more do you need to know?

Executives at Hostess are asking a bankruptcy judge to allow them to shut down the company, and award themselves $1.75 million in bonuses. You know, I'm far from pro-union at this point, but, as more info comes out, it's becoming more and more impossible to say "hey, Baker's Union, all your fault".

Well I think that the bleed a company dry at the expense of the entity and the workers Capitalism that we currently live under is a root cause here.

I think that a system where massive personal gains can be had from failure is sick and needs serious reform. As it stands now, it seems that the American Economic mind was Mel Brooks.

A Tweet: "First Mitt, now the Twinkie. Farewell, spongy, bland, artificial remnants of another era."

This comparison is unjust! Twinkies contain aritficial AND natural flavors!

Good article on what happened (other than damn the unions!).

Robear wrote:

Originally, Twinkies came from molds used to make a cream-filled shortcake intended to be served with strawberries at a bakery or restaurant, making a sort of finger-cake strawberry shortcake. Probably the recipe was a bit different. But that actually sounds pretty good to me. :-)

Almost completely different. The original recipe used a banana cream, and had a shelf life of around a day.

Grubber788 wrote:

Tastykake rules!

/throws brick through Hostess factory window

I know!

All of you guys and your crappy crap cakes don't know what you're missing. The great brand that is Tastykakes will seize this opportunity to overtake the US and spread delicious spongy krimpity goodness throughout. See this map on their website for current occupational progress, http://www.tastykake.com/.

They will also unite with the soft pretzel, Herrs chips, Wawa, and Rita's Waterice companies to spread all that Philadelphia goodness throughout!

Welcome your Philadelphia snack and desert foods into your life! It may not be what you want, but it's what you need!

Tastykakes are gross.

I don't think this "Tastykakes" place has as much of a foothold as Little Debbie (at least, I'd never heard of it until I read this thread). If anyone is going to fill the processed food cakes with high-fructose corn syrup cream in Hostess' absence, I'm thinking it's the little ginger chick.

They will also unite with the soft pretzel, Herrs chips, Wawa, and Rita's Waterice companies to spread all that Philadelphia goodness throughout!

Can't hold a candle to the solar brilliance of Utz, though. Hanover represent!

Since its labor related, what does everyone think about today's proposed strikes at 1000 WalMarts? On one hand, I sympathize with workers being angry at having no holiday this year when for decades WalMart gave workers the day off. I personally detest sales starting before the turkey is even cold and wish America was more like other countries where certain national holidays are sacred. But at the same time I worked plenty of holidays in the military and feel you should do be job you're hired to do. At the very least these retail workers are getting overtime.

PS - I recognize the strike is over more than working on Thanksgiving, but that point seems to be the main one that workers are using to garner sympathy for their cause.

While I understand your thought process, jdzappa, I think there's a major distinction between military and civilian work-- with the former, the "employee" is literally and voluntarily signing away a large part of his or her Constitutional rights for the duration of employment. The latter is an "at will" civilian employment. While they might get some overtime (and it damn well better be holiday/double-time pay, rather than regular time-and-a-half), I can almost guarantee you their managers are going to cut hours and finagle their way out of paying the workers more than a regular week's total. I used to run into this all the time in working retail: work this Thursday, get some extra hours! Oh, but we don't need you to come in all day tomorrow, so you won't be getting the full 40 hours, so you won't actually be making enough to qualify for overtime. Even though, at least in California, overtime is awarded either after 8 full hours in a day or 40 hours in a week or both, most retailers take the liberty of choosing one of those stipulations as it suits them.

So while there's that blue-collar part of me that just says "shut up and do your job" there's the educated part of me that understands that if the workers don't stand for their rights (and in this case, tradition), then their employers will continue to push the boundaries of what's fair or even legal, almost always at the detriment of their employees.

And here's something else I just thought about regarding overtime-- to force all those employees to work on the holiday, you'd have to pay them overtime-- so would there really be that much extra profit in it, after paying out? That's another reason I think Wal-Mart is going to (if not already) take advantage of their employees in some other way(s), otherwise the increase in the bottom line would be pretty insignificant after paying out all that holiday/overtime.

WipEout wrote:

While I understand your thought process, jdzappa, I think there's a major distinction between military and civilian work-- with the former, the "employee" is literally and voluntarily signing away a large part of his or her Constitutional rights for the duration of employment. The latter is an "at will" civilian employment. While they might get some overtime (and it damn well better be holiday/double-time pay, rather than regular time-and-a-half), I can almost guarantee you their managers are going to cut hours and finagle their way out of paying the workers more than a regular week's total. I used to run into this all the time in working retail: work this Thursday, get some extra hours! Oh, but we don't need you to come in all day tomorrow, so you won't be getting the full 40 hours, so you won't actually be making enough to qualify for overtime. Even though, at least in California, overtime is awarded either after 8 full hours in a day or 40 hours in a week or both, most retailers take the liberty of choosing one of those stipulations as it suits them.

So while there's that blue-collar part of me that just says "shut up and do your job" there's the educated part of me that understands that if the workers don't stand for their rights (and in this case, tradition), then their employers will continue to push the boundaries of what's fair or even legal, almost always at the detriment of their employees.

And here's something else I just thought about regarding overtime-- to force all those employees to work on the holiday, you'd have to pay them overtime-- so would there really be that much extra profit in it, after paying out? That's another reason I think Wal-Mart is going to (if not already) take advantage of their employees in some other way(s), otherwise the increase in the bottom line would be pretty insignificant after paying out all that holiday/overtime.

Of course workers have the right to stand up for their legal rights, but I don't see anywhere where the employer is actually breaking the law in requiring the workers to come in on Thanksgiving. I also agree it's a dick move and won't be supporting the stores that are doing this. That doesnt change the fact that the employees chose to work at WalMart and are always free to go find work for a better company.

I also want to say that I wish the strikers the best of luck, but don't come crying if you lose your job if the strike fails. Strikes are supposed to be risky and painful for both sides. One of the problems I have with teacher and other public worker strikes is they rarely face any ramifications for their strikes. The state or city will rarely fire its public workers, and in the case of teachers the days out on strike can always be made up at the end of the school year.

jdzappa wrote:

Since its labor related, what does everyone think about today's proposed strikes at 1000 WalMarts? On one hand, I sympathize with workers being angry at having no holiday this year when for decades WalMart gave workers the day off. I personally detest sales starting before the turkey is even cold and wish America was more like other countries where certain national holidays are sacred. But at the same time I worked plenty of holidays in the military and feel you should do be job you're hired to do. At the very least these retail workers are getting overtime.

PS - I recognize the strike is over more than working on Thanksgiving, but that point seems to be the main one that workers are using to garner sympathy for their cause.

edit for clarity: think about what a soldier does--protects us in case of emergency. Think of other jobs like that: cops, firefighters, ER nurses & doctors, etc. They don't get the day off either.

On the other hand, no one is going to drop dead or wind up speaking German because they didn't get that HDTV a day early that they're buying for Christmas anyway.

sheared wrote:

Good article on what happened (other than damn the unions!).

Thanks for the post. Yeah, if my company cut my pay 25% and then tried to double it, is tell them to f*ck off too.

And the article is correct that union organization and behavior is a bit dated. And there are enough systemic issues with the middle and working classes that make it very difficult to negotiate from strength. Not sure there are any easy answers until we address problems of consumer debt and expectations around job creation.