According to early reports about the Hostess bankruptcy, the well known brands – Twinkies, Ring Dings and the well known bread substitute Wonder Bread – were to be sold off to raise money to pay off creditors.
This would have happened if everything had proceeded according to the bankruptcy plan filed by the owners. However the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) have called the deal into question. The BCTGM takes exception to management’s proposal to pay senior executives a bonus of up to 75 percent of their annual pay so they will stay on and help wind-down the bankrupt business.
The Washington Post’s Plum-line blog reports that labor and Hostess management will be going into last-ditch mediation in hopes of saving 18,000 jobs and 33 manufacturing plants. The unions hope to turn the entire affair into a teachable moment.
The AFL-CIO will be following the lead of the union that represents the Hostess workers, but it has offered to lend any assistance it can, and will separately use this story to draw national attention to labor issues in general.
Whatever the health of organized labor overall, the Twinkie story seems like another good opportunity for unions to counterprogram conservative messaging with their own story about the scapegoating of supposedly greedy union workers for corporate failings, even as “vulture funds” make a killing – and more broadly about the real causes of middle class economic insecurity.
Hostess’ debt is owned by a series of hedge funds and “without large union concessions – what some would say, total union capitulation – the hedge funds decided Hostess would have to die,” according to Business Insider.
So as you see, it’s no Wonder: it’s the union workers’ fault for not being as soft and squishy as the company’s famous spitball raw material.