Union could cost its members jobs, U.S. bread

Published 12:01am Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Empty bread shelves in Natchez-area stores normally mean one thing: a storm is brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.

But late last week, the sight indicated a storm of a different kind brewing across the country.

Hostess — makers of snacks such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Ho’s and a number of other baked bread products — simply threw up its hands after being embroiled in a labor union battle.

The company said, essentially, “We must have a better deal or the company will close.”

The union wouldn’t give, now thousands are without jobs and shelves all over the place are without products that were still sought after by consumers. Late Monday, the company and union announced plans to go to mediation, offering a slight hope of a compromise.

If the mediation fails, will union members feel as if they won? The business is bankrupt and will likely begin trying to break itself up and sell parts to former competitors.

That’s good news for fans of Twinkies, since that brand will almost certainly win a buyer and be reborn, but it’s unfortunate for other Hostess brands and the workers who produced them.

It’s quite likely that by the time their brands are sold and potentially resurrected, consumers will have moved their loyalty elsewhere.

Local residents saw a similar set of circumstances play out when a union dispute led to the closing of Titan Tire of Natchez in 2001.

If our country is to succeed and our economy is to flourish, our nation must come to grips with the fact that businesses must be profitable, or they’ll close.

That starts with having a stable economic climate at the national level. Then it trickles down to having workers who realize that sometimes labor unions play “chicken” with their members’ futures and lose.

If you want evidence, go look at the empty bread shelves and ask, “Did this have to happen?”


  • Anonymous

    You would think the DEB would be up on the news of the day and not just spouting off Faux News talking points.

    Maybe if the executives of the company were not tripling their salaries and taking huge bonuses they wouldn’t have to go bankrupt. They are ruining the company and blaming the unions while they get rich.. From thinkprogress dot com:

    Hostess Brands will ask a bankruptcy judge on Monday for approval to shut down the company and pay $1.75 million in executive bonuses.

    Unions representing workers at the maker of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Drake’s snacks are arguing against the bonuses. [...]
    Under the plan, bonuses ranging from $7,400 to $130,500 will be paid to 19 executives. The company argues the bonuses are below market rates for such payments.
    Even as it blamed unions for the bankruptcy and the 18,500 job losses that will ensue, Hostess already gave its executives pay raises earlier this year. The salary of the company’s chief executive tripled from $750,000 to roughly $2.5 million, and at least nine other executives received pay raises ranging from $90,000 to $400,000. Those raises came just months after Hostess originally filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

  • Gray

    This article is fairly Cooperish, ready to blame labor for corporate mismanagement and greed. What happened to treating labor fairly? People working for Hostess only want fair wages and benefits and yet, they are being vilified as the reason the company is going bankrupt. Could it be possible that gross mismanagement and no re~investment in the company is the reason for it’s demise? Given the fact that obesity is rampant, a company making Twinkies is about the same as being able to print your own money!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Stutzman/100000914851900 Joe Stutzman

    im pro union, BUT hey, union brothers, this was DUMB AND DUMBER

  • Khakirat

    DEB your article is not compete as that of Fox news that is only throwing one side out not publishing the side(The Whole Story) of the missed treatment of the unions members of their giving up salary over the year there and benefits as well and the bread CEO making hundred of thousand dollar bonuses!! DEB editors how would you like to be paid $1.25 per hour as in the 60′s and if it wasn’t for the unions that made the USA the most strongest and riches nation in the world by getting people more fair pay to raise their families with benefits and a good quality of life??!! You mentioned Titan Tire and I’m proud of the union members here that stood up to CEO’s as Romney that don’t give a “HOOT” for the middle class or the working man ! For when these Titan people had to buy bread and milk they had to pay the same as the histerical people and the well to do so don’t go against the Titan union people if you haven’t ever walked in their shoes for you don’t know what your talking about or printing about!!! Please print the whole story of facts ND about Titan sending the jobs to Mexico as that of Romney to bust the unions and the Middle Class that went on all over the USA!!!

  • Anonymous

    DEB, you are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own set of facts. You should retract this editorial and write one with the facts and not just what you want to believe. You are misinforming your readers and if you do not print the facts of this story then you are being divisive, for some unknown reason other than propping up the rich (as if they need it) and stomping on the workers. Pitiful!

  • Anonymous

    I wonder which idiot wrote this pile of steaming donkey dung!!!