RIP Hostess

“Twinkies – Oh my Gosh, I love them!” – “Sugar” from Tick, Tick Boom

So, as Hostess closes its doors, I find myself completely torn. Normally, I am on the side of the workers and the unions.

I even understand their position in this case. Hostess was cutting benefits by 30% and salaries by 8%. With a collective bargaining agreement, there’s issues with cutting those things.

What I wonder, is if there was a way to push the negotiations without striking?

Ah, well, I’m not on the union management and don’t know enough about the situation with Hostess management to know if there was another way. All we can do is understand what to do going forward.

How do we keep these situations from happening in the future? I don’t know. There’s no hard and fast rule.

What I do know, is that sometimes there are other situations that need to be explored. Hostess, being a public company, and in Chapter 11 for the second time, was under extreme pressure to grow.

It did not need growth. It needed stability. There’s a difference. Sometimes, you need to shrink, not grow, in order to continue.

Maybe there was waste or inefficiencies that needed to be addressed. Maybe there was a specific market share they weren’t going after. Hostess isn’t a company I’ve owned. I don’t know enough about them to say.

All I can say is, I’m going to miss your cupcakes.

And now, I’m going to run out and buy one of everything Hostess and put it in a box to save for the future….

Edited 11-18-12: So one of my friends was kind enough to find some information on the history of these negotiations and the bankruptcy:

After they filed for bankruptcy back in 2005 the workers took a pay and benefits cut. One guy they talked to lost $10k a year with the cut. The CEO was getting $750k a year. Last year the management voted to increase their pay. That same CEO was now getting $2.5 mil a year. That is when they first started asking the workers to take a another pay cut. The guy who lost $10k before was being asked to take another $10k pay cut and pay almost all of his insurance premiums. His pay would be $25k a year. For the hours he worked, unemployment pays more. For what he would have gotten from Hostess he would have lost his house because he wouldn’t be able to meet their mortgage.

Hostess wanted workers to go back to the same pay and benefits scale that they were paying in the 1950s. So yeah. Hostess? Totally in the wrong.

Labor News Weds.

This whole thing started with monitoring the Wisconsin fight. Then, it started moving toward being more a way of monitoring things that are happening in the labor world. I’m not in a union. But I, of course, have at least one family member who is. (Quick count of hands, how many people have a family member in a union?)

I also appreciate what the unions have done for me in a larger sense. All of the hard-won fights that mean I’m not losing my fingers working on a machine or locked into a 12-16 hour day or forced to take care of my own health care or buy all my goods from the company store. I support the 40 hour work week (which again, is due to unions). I support a safe working environment and enough lighting and bathroom breaks. (Again, hello, union.) So, even if you aren’t in a union and you live in the US, you’re benefiting from the fight the labor unions have been waging for years.

This is what’s been running around this week on the labor front:

Newsflash: You can’t live on minimum wage! (ontd_political) – especially if you’ve got kids.

Grocery Store Workers Go On Hunger Strike Over Stagnant Wages (ontd_political)

Wisconsin

PPP Poll: Wisconsin Wants To Recall Walker — And Put Dems In The State Senate (ontd_political)

Wisconsin Union Law Struck Down By County Circuit Judge (ontd_political)

Unions and Wisconsin and All that Jazz

Promises should be kept. Collective bargaining is sometimes the only power that can force the hand of a company with far too much money to spend on lawyers.

Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (White House) – A landmark in collective bargaining history. And why we need to protect it.

Preserving the Triangle Factory Fire’s Lessons, 100 Years Later (ontd_political)

Alabama

The pension crisis: Promises unkept (ontd_political)

Connecticut

Report: Privatization Would Impoverish Custodians (ontd_political)

Maine

LePage thinks a mural makes Maine North Korea (ontd_political)

Maine GOP Gov. Paul LePage Stole Candy From Children, Wants To Undo Child Labor Laws (ontd_political)

Michigan

Michigan Republicans create “financial martial law”; appointees to replace elected local officials (boing boing)

Missouri

Missouri GOP Wishes to Go into Time Machine, Back to the 19th Century (ontd_political)

New Hampshire

NH House panel revamps bargaining rules (ontd_political)

In states, parties clash over voting laws that would affect college students, others (Washington Post)

In states, parties clash over voting laws that call for IDs, limits on where college students can cast ballots (ontd_political)

Washington

Past perks now haunt ferry workers as they work with state to cut costs (ontd_political)

Wisconsin

Conservative Think Tank Seeks Michigan Profs’ Emails About Wisconsin Union Battle … And Maddow (ontd_political)

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is no longer collecting dues on behalf of state unions (ontd_political)

Wisconsin GOP uses sunshine laws to harass prof who speculated about links with pressure group (boing boing)

Republicans Getting Desperate: Considering Ripping off the End of “Bob Roberts” (ontd_political)

Despite His ‘Pro-Life’ Crusade, Scott Walker Goes After Pregnant Immigrant Women (ontd_political)

Walker guts farmland preservation efforts (ontd_political)

UW history prof targeted for records request by Republican Party (ontd_political)

Wisconsin Union Law Published Despite Court Order (ontd_political)

Ex-Wisconsin prosecutor won’t face charges over harassing domestic violence victims. (ontd_political)

This is what disregarding the First Amendment looks like (ontd_political)

Judge blocks Wisconsin law curbing labor rights (ontd_political)

Anti-union group: send us secret, unlimited donations so we can bring transparency to politics! (boing boing)

House of Representatives

Another attack on the lower class (ontd_political)

The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer:

Buried Provision In House GOP Bill Would Cut Off Food Stamps To Entire Families If One Member Strikes (ontd_political)

Can’t Stop Wisconsin’s Signal

And since I’ve been paying attention to politics that are outside my usual sandbox, I can’t ignore all the wonderful Wisconsin activity.

Wisconsin Republicans call for arrest of missing Democrats (boing boing)

Solidarity. (hey, there’s a dead guy in the living room)

Exposing the Big Wisconsin Lie about “subsidized public pensions” (boing boing)

Hypocrisy Alert: Charles Koch Blasts “Crony Capitalism” (ontd_political)

Missing Wisconsin Democrats to face $100 per day fine (ontd_political)

Democratic lawmakers climb out their windows to meet with Madison constituents (ontd_political)

BREAKING: Wisconsin Voters Launch Recall Campaign Against Eight GOP State Senators (ontd_political)

Wisconsin Capitol still on limited-access lockdown (boing boing)

South of the border: Dem senators share snippets of life on the lam (ontd_political)

Wisconsin Lawmakers Seek To Criminalize Prank Phone Calls That Make Scott Walker Look Bad (ontd_political)

Scott Walker smuggles ringers into the capital for the legislative session (boing boing)

Frostbite and Freedom: Tom Morello on the Battle of Madison (ontd_political)

Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions (ontd_political) (tax.com)

Wisconsin Capitol illegally closed to newcomers (boing boing)

Anonymous took down Americans for Prosperity’s website (ontd_political)

Americans For Prosperity Gets Koch-Blocked (ontd_political)

Voices and pictures from Madison, Wisconsin, protests (boing boing)

Madison police chief wants to know why governor considered using agents provocateur (boing boing)

WI Repugs force through anti-union bill in assembly (ontd_political)

Wisconsin cops for the win (boing boing)

Rallies Held Nationwide Showing Solidarity for Wisconsin (ontd_political)

Dear Koch Brothers: Anonymous is coming for you. (ontd_political)

Confirmed: Union-Bashing Right-Wing Media Stars Hannity, Limbaugh and O’Reilly Are All Union Members (ontd_political)

The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions (Forbes)

Wisconsin update: More to come later today (2/27) (boing boing)

Infographic on the relationship between the Koch Bros and Scott Walker (boing boing)

Update from Wisconsin(boing boing)

Scott Walker’s Plan To Take Control Of Medicaid Decisions In Wisconsin (ontd_political)

Cieslewicz rebukes Walker for talk of disrupting demonstrations (ontd_political)

Guy who punked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is running for Congress as Green Party candidate (ontd_political)

Decoding the Wisconsin Polls (NY Times)

Wisconsin Unions Call For General Strike (ontd_political)

The Last Time Scott Walker Went Union Busting, He Was Overruled And Wasted Taxpayer Dollars (ontd_political)

Gov. Walker Informed That Bill Targeting Unions May Cost State $46 Million In Federal Funds (ontd_political)

Scott Walker tricked into spilling his guts to fake Koch brother (boing boing)

Wisconsin Legislature Shuts Down Comment Line After Too Many Complaints (ontd_political)

Wisconsin roundup 2/22 (ontd_political)

From Cairo to Madison, some pizza (ontd_political)

Walker to propose $1 billion cut to education: MPS would lose up to 25% of its funding (ontd_political)

Related News in Ohio:

Ohio Senate Passes Bill Curbing Bargaining (ontd_political)

Collective Bargaining Protest locked out until lawsuit threat (ontd_political)

Related News in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma House panel approves bill to change negotiation process for cities, unions (ontd_political)

Related New in Indiana:

Deputy AG loses job after tweet drama (ontd_political)

Indiana Official: “Use Live Ammunition” Against Wisconsin Protesters (ontd_political)

Indiana deputy attorney general tweets: “Use live ammunition” on demonstrators (boing boing)

Exodus: Dems trigger Statehouse showdown in Indiana (ontd_political)

General Related Posts:

Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector Unions (ontd_political)