Buried amid the generally gloomy news last week was a development that is a true cause for celebration. By July, the Twinkie, and other favorite Hostess brands will return to store shelves. Two investment companies bought assets of the bankrupt snack company and plan to re-open four plants and hire 1,500 workers in the coming weeks. Labor unions, however, will not be invited back.
Hostess Brands, the venerable 86-year maker of Twinkies, Zingers, Ho-Hos and other popular snack cakes closed its doors last November. The company had said it needed wage and benefit concessions from its largely unionized workforce in order to survive. The Teamsters, the union representing the largest number of Hostess workers, agreed to the concessions and urged other unions to join them. A little known union, the Bakers and Confectioners workers, however, refused to accept the modest compensation cuts. As a result, the company shuttered its doors, throwing all of its workers into the unemployment line.
The chief executive of the new Hostess Brands has said the new owners will pump $60 million in new capital investments into the company. Without labor bosses demanding uncompetitive wages and benefits, the company has a good chance to survive.
I admit that, as I’ve grown older, I had kind of forgotten about the Twinkie and Zingers, the absolute best of the snack cakes. So maybe this latest example of union folly has a silver lining. I, and probably millions of others, will never again take snack cakes for granted.