What Killed the Twinkie?
There is a heated argument over what finally killed the Twinkie. The Hostess Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union blames management. BCTGM International President Frank Hurt said:
The truth is that had it not been for the valiant efforts of our members over the last eight years, including accepting significant wage and benefit concessions after the first bankruptcy, this company would have gone out of business long ago.
One anonymous business agent who represents union members of local 69 was even more accusatory:
Hostess is a corrupt company and is attempting to shut their plant down because we are not willing to conform and take slave wages. We won't do that … they're not bakers any more … They're a big business who's mismanaged the company and made all of us suffer … We've been in situations like this, where Wall Street, big business investors will attempt to chop up wages and have workers work for little or nothing, where they're unable to support their families … When they have to take action to close the plant, that happens. We have families that cannot work for these types of wages and have little to no healthcare.
But there is another side to the story; CEO Greg Rayburn said it was the unions, and could point to the fact that the Teamsters Union was agreeable to a compromise in September, when they narrowly voted to accept reduced wages and benefits.
The Teamsters even had implied criticism of the Bakers Union; Ken Hall, the Teamsters' Secretary-Treasurer, said:
Unfortunately, the company's operating and financial problems were so severe that it required steep concessions from a variety of stakeholders but not all stakeholders were willing to be constructive. Teamster Hostess members, based on the facts and advice from respected restructuring advisers, understood what was at stake and voted to protect all jobs at Hostess.