Unions aren’t mostly to blame for demise of Twinkies maker

Regarding the bankrupty of Hostess Brands, the manufacturer of Twinkies and other such junk foods, the knee-jerk reaction among pathological union-bashers has been to blame organized labor for the company’s fate.

But it isn’t quite that simple, as Jordan Weissmann EXPLAINS:

 This is not a simple story that anybody should try to slot neatly into their political talking points. It’s not just about Wall Street preying on Main Street, or big bad labor unions sucking a wholesome American company dry. It’s about an entire galaxy of bad decisions that will cost many people their jobs and money.  


Already, a few parties have tried to politicize this affair. The AFL-CIO today called it “a microcosm of what’s wrong with America, as Bain-style Wall Street vultures make themselves rich by making Americans poor.”  GOProud sent a winking blast email headlined “Unions Kill Twinkies” (literally, they wrote in a wink). 

Both takes are exceptionally reductive. Let’s look at Wall street first. The private equity guys will likely lose most of their investment, since their stake in the company will be worthless. It’s also not clear that the hedge funds and other lenders that supplied Hostess with its mountain of loans will fare much better. When it entered Chapter 11 this year, the company owed around $935 million, if you include the additional loan it took out to keep the lights on and creme flowing. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the company listed $981.6 million worth of assets in its bankruptcy filing. There’s virtually no chance they’ll sell for that much in a liquidation. One of the failed bids to buy the whole company out of its last bankruptcy valued it at just $580 million.  And that was when it was a going operation. If you factor in the interest payments Hostess has been making on its loans, some of the creditors might end up making out ok. But it doesn’t seem likely anybody will make a killing.  

In short: the smart money guys larded Hostess with too much debt and never figured out a real plan for fixing its business. They’re coming out with a loss as a result. 

As far as the unions go: You can blame them for not making enough concessions. You can blame the bakers for administering the final death blow. But you can’t blame them for management’s strategic incompetence, or the decision to try to run a flailing company on debt, hope, and empty calories.



  1. Just like you can blame obama for running a country on debt and sucking up to the unions, you can blame the unions for overpriced labor which forced this company into ill health in the first place. I’ll do without the sweet cakes thank you. And good riddance to the poor poor union fools who cut off their noses to spite their faces.

  2. Brian Opsahl

    Pretty harsh Barb, have you ever worked in a Union, or is this just a rant against everything Obama, ala Fox lying news…just wondering how you would no that they are overpaid. From what the CEO of the Company has said thats NOT the case here….soooo ?

  3. “run a flailing company on debt, hope, and empty calories.”

    Sounds suspiciously like a Democrat campaign slogan. Except we’re talking about our country.

    This, however, was awesome.


  4. Brian Opsahl

    That would be a WINNING slogan would it NOT…!! doc.
    You need to get over this election and move on, your a professional for peets sake.
    Obama care should make your profession explode with millions of new paying customers.
    Most people in the Health Care industry tell me that if your even a decent Doctor your about to get real busy and will also need to start hireing more help….is that true Doc: or is that something you don’t want to talk about…?

  5. It isn’t about unions or people having to band together to protect themselves from management gone wild with ridiculously high compensation packages while the business goes without refitting and upgades to aging equipment. When a business is begun everyone shares in the labor with the lions share of the profit going to the founders. This is correct and expected. When this situation changes and those in charge start to see themselves as more deserving than the rank and file, this is where the problems start. You can’t expect to get an honest days work from someone that’s receiving an inadequate salary especially when those above them are paid 100’s of times more and don’t respond to the needs of the laborers or the product line. Something has to give and everyone generally loses!

  6. So silly Brian. What physicians are worried about is closing their doors. You can’t make up for poor reimbursement with volume.

    But you are right, the volume will certainly be there. Between our demographics and the ACA, more people than ever will be seeking care. The question will be, who will be there to provide it.

  7. Doc, you must be evil if you think you need to make a profit.
    So what if you have more regulations, paperwork, lower reimbursement and patients, you can just eat the cost you evil 1%’er.

    It kind of makes 8 yrs plus of college and large students loans not so inviting for many I bet.

  8. shawnnews

    It has nothing to do with “You must be evil if you think you need to make a profit.”

    The issue is that people who actually made the product — union workers — are being blamed by management for the company’s demise. The article suggests it was a mismanaged company dealt a death blow once the bakers’ union refused to go along with the deal management and the Teamsters wanted.

    “In short: the smart money guys larded Hostess with too much debt and never figured out a real plan for fixing its business. They’re coming out with a loss as a result.

    As far as the unions go: You can blame them for not making enough concessions. You can blame the bakers for administering the final death blow. But you can’t blame them for management’s strategic incompetence, or the decision to try to run a flailing company on debt, hope, and empty calories.

    There’s more than enough blame in this story for everyone involved to have a taste.”

    This could be a model for what the Tea Party claims to want: companies that are poorly managed should fail not get bailouts. But instead conservative media has decided to make it into an issue of unions are bad people.

  9. You are winning Doc!
    “In the largest staff reduction in its nearly 100-year history, Orlando Health is cutting up to 400 jobs starting immediately, hospital system officials announced Monday.”

    “Such cost-cutting measures are happening across the country. On Wednesday, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina announced that it would cut 950 jobs by June.

    Last month, Louisiana State University announced it would cut 1,495 positions as well as programs across its seven hospitals to trim more than $150 million from its budget.

    “It’s a challenging time for hospitals,” said John Bigalke, senior partner of global health care for Deloitte, one of the nation’s largest professional services firms.

    Hospitals are looking at an $800 billion to $900 billion reduction in Medicare payments over the next 10 years, along with reductions in Medicaid payments, he said.”

  10. Brian Opsahl

    From what I understand is that the workers of Hostess had taken pay cuts and gave back everything they had won at bargining table, and every tim e they did this Management would give themselves big raises and bonuses NOT paying down on their dept. You can’t blame the workers when this kind of crap is going on inside a Company…

  11. This is a very complete article on the hostess topic. It is very long so I just included the conclusion.


    First, let’s lay part of the “bad management decisions” to rest. It was the demands of the unions and their un-willingness to understand changing market dynamics that helped push Hostess Brands to the financial brink. If the unions actually owned the company, one would assume they would have agreed to all of the demands the unions made in negotiations. That would have left Hostess in a worse position as they had demanded even more than they received through bargaining. So if the unions were making demands that management agreed to which were harmful to the company, why would anyone think the unions or their members would have done anything differently?

    The good news is that they now have a chance to show they world they can make decisions that keep a company going. Hostess will liquidate its assets which means the unions can pick up the company for a song. They can show other “capitalist pigs” how a company should be run.

    We all know that won’t happen.

    The unions and their members won’t put up their dollars but will feel perfectly justified in condemning others that do.

    That is what is wrong with business in this country. Management and workers have ceased to work together. Through the years laws and rulings by federal agencies have driven even more of a wedge between management and unions. This has resulted in America trying to compete in a world market where companies in other countries don’t have such restrictions. If the worker want to strike, the foreign companies hire new workers.

    Some will say the Hostess Brands demise was about money and to some extent it is. We believe the demise was more about power. Unions are scared of losing influence in a world economy. Instead of trying to figure out a way to work with companies, unions have come to believe they own the company without any financial investment at all. They believe they have the right to control the direction and destiny of the company without having a stake in the company.

    What will happen in the long run is that the sweets and baked goods we all love will come back. The recipes and production facilities will be purchased for pennies on the dollar by another company. To make the products, the new owners will hire workers who aren’t unionized and at a lower rate. The workers will have jobs and a pension plan while the unions who helped Hostess into liquidation will be wondering if McDonald’s is hiring.

    Good plan unions. Good plan.

  12. Brian Opsahl

    Funny doc, how none of that matches anything the CEO of that has Company said, NOTHING, and yet act like it’s true. So who would no more the CEO or some right wingnut web site of your choosing….doc. Before you go slamming all those Unuion Brothers of mine remember that they do have insurance and the ability to pay the extrodanary fee’s that Doctors charge….Right !!

  13. Here is another short excerpt from this long article.

    “Pensions were a huge part of the Hostess monetary problems. At the time of their latest bankruptcy fillings, Hostess listed over two billion dollars in unfunded pensions. Add to that the fact the company was hemorrhaging money at the rate of two million dollars a week, it is easy to understand why the company was in dire financial straights.

    No one forced management at Hostess to accept deals with unions that would eventually lead to the end of the brand as we know it. In doing so, their actions and the actions of the unions highlight one of the biggest problems we see in US businesses today – the idea that we aren’t all in this together. While the unions were agreeing to concessions on one level while making demands on the other, management was still paying members large salaries and bonuses. This meant that you had two groups of people – management and unions – who weren’t concerned about the long term health of the company, but rather “what can we get out of this?”

    In our opinion, it is the selfish attitudes of almost everyone involved which led to Hostess closing its doors.

    Everyone – management, the PE companies and the unions share in the blame for this.

    But by far, by miles, by light years, the lion’s share of the blame has to go to the unions.

    When you negotiate and make demands such as different trucks for different products, a more than generous pension plan, wages that are out of line with the industry and that don’t allow the company to compete, well, that simply dooms the company.

    However, in what defines hubris, the unions are now claiming they are glad Hostess shut down. Yeah, people lost pensions and 18,000 – 19,000 people are immediately on the government dole for unemployment benefits and they are glad.”

  14. Brian Opsahl

    Here you go again…Really doc: just because you went to school dosen’t make you any better a worker or provider for your family…Sir !! Blamming Unions is the easy way out of lousey management NOT doing there jobs….the lions share of the blame…are you serious since when doe’s a Union run the business, That would be like me blamming you for your Hospital going broke…paying your out of line salary, when everyone knows it’s the nurses that do all the work in your Profession. so how about those beans doc..!!

  15. Luke Fredrickson


    “Hostess Brands is not dead just yet, but the prospects for the company’s survival are now dim at best. Hostess—which still makes iconic food products (or sort of food products) like Twinkies and Ding Dongs—went into Chapter 11 back in January for the second time in eight years, in an attempt to get out from under a pile of debt and labor obligations. The company hoped, it seems, to be able to use bankruptcy protection as a way of imposing cuts in wages and benefits on its unionized employees. But last week, after Hostess put in place a contract that the bakers’ union said would end up cutting wages and benefits between twenty-seven and thirty-two per cent (including an immediate eight per cent wage cut), that union went on strike. Hostess claims the strike has irreparably damaged production and made it impossible for it to continue operating. As a result, on Friday the company asked a bankruptcy judge to allow it to liquidate the company. If no deal is struck over the weekend, and if the judge approves Hostess’s request, as of Monday afternoon, it will be on its way out of business—its brands and factories will be sold for whatever the company can get for them. A few thousand workers will be kept on initially to wind things down, but most of the nearly nineteen thousand employees will lose their jobs.

    Management, of course, blames the company’s demise on the greedy, unreasonable unions. But, while the strike may well have sent Hostess over the edge, the hard truth is that it probably should have gone out of business a long time ago. The company has been steadily losing money, and market share, for years. And its core problem has not been excessively high compensation costs or pension contributions. Its core problem has been that the market for its products changed, but it did not. Twinkies and Ding Dongs obviously aren’t anyone’s idea of the perfect twenty-first-century snack food. More important, the theoretical flagship of Hostess’s product line, Wonder Bread, has gone from being a key part of the archetypical American diet to a tired also-ran.

    Hostess’s management certainly bears some of the blame for its failure to successfully adapt, though the company made numerous (and failed) attempts to introduce healthier products. But the simple truth is that this kind of failure is endemic to the system—there are always going to be companies that are unable to change in response to the marketplace. And those companies are supposed to go out of business. Not to be too clichéd about it, but this is what creative destruction is all about.

    The problem, of course, is that that destruction is going to upend the lives of thousands of workers. And to the extent, then, that Hostess’s demise shows us something important about the plight of organized labor today, it’s not that greedy workers have precipitated their own demise. It’s rather that one of organized labor’s biggest challenges over the past four decades has been that union strength was concentrated in industries and among companies that, though once dominant players in the postwar American economy, have often ended up in a slow slide to obsolescence, employing fewer and fewer workers and having less and less money to pay them with. In theory, unions could have made up for this by organizing those companies and industries that have become ascendant since the nineteen-seventies, but for a variety of reasons (including a tougher corporate approach to union-busting, a less friendly legal climate, the difficulty of organizing many small enterprises as opposed to a few big factories, and a tendency to protect existing members rather than put real money into organizing) they haven’t. And the paradox is that as unions have gotten smaller and less influential, they’ve also gotten less popular. That’s why it’s so easy for Hostess’s management to spin the anti-union narrative.

    The real issue here is that people’s image of unions, and their sense that doing something like going on strike is legitimate, seems to depend quite a bit, in the U.S., on how common unions are in the workforce. When organized labor represented more than a third of American workers, it was easy for unions to send the message that in agitating for their own interests, union members were also helping improve conditions for workers in general. But as unions have shrunk, and have become increasingly concentrated in the public sector, it’s become easier for people to dismiss them as just another special interest, looking to hold onto perks that no one else gets. Perhaps the most striking response to the Hostess news, in that sense, was the tweet from conservative John Nolte, who wrote “Hostess strikers had pension. PENSIONS! What is this 1962?” It was once taken for granted that an industrial worker who worked for a big company for many years would get a solid middle-class lifestyle, and would be taken care of in retirement. Today, that concept seems to many like a relic. Just as Wonder Bread does.”

  16. Brian,

    If you would like to discuss a specific point made in the article I linked, I would be happy to do so.

    If you would like to discuss health care economics I would be happy to do that as well.

  17. That is a nice article Luke.

  18. Tsk tsk, went even the liberal media, assuming that union bloody-mindedness must be at work. Think again. As the bakers rightly saw it, they were being asked once more to prop up Teamster jobs that would likely guarantee that any Hostess resurrection would be short-lived.

    Start with the fact that Hostess’s bakery operations are relatively efficient, and though the company planned to sell or close some of the plants anyway, the company had the power to do so already under its union contracts.

    Under the latest turnaround plan, the sticking point was Hostess’s distribution operations, source of the Hostess horror stories filling the media. Union-imposed work rules stopped drivers from helping to load their trucks. A separate worker, arriving at the store in a separate vehicle, had to be employed to shift goods from a storage area to a retailer’s shelf. Wonder Bread and Twinkies couldn’t ride on the same truck.

    Hostess has spent eight of the past 11 years in bankruptcy. As the company explained to its latest judge, the Hostess brands “have not been able to profit from many of their existing delivery stops and have been unable to enter potentially profitable markets, such as dollar stores, vending services and movie theaters.”

    If Hostess were able to rationalize or outsource delivery to serve these customers, ready to go are “new products based on its best-selling cake items that have a longer shelf-life and can withstand freezing en route to customers over longer transportation hauls.”

  19. Brian Opsahl

    @wilson, Did you you also see that the Bankruptsy Judge got pissed off that the Company executives and managers where trying to get some 1.7 million dollars paid in bonuses before anybody else gets paid…This Company also has not paid into it’s employees pension fund for over 3 years…so before you trash the hard working Union brothers and Sisters keep in mind who runs the Company not the ones who do the real work.

    Suddenly everybodys an expert on Unions and Labor law…amazing what comes from Fox one day is suddenly real news the next….even though they lied to everybody about the election….Fact !!

  20. I wasn’t trashing the hard working Union Brothers. I was just using a WSJ article to point out how the union rules made it very difficult to profit from more efficient delivery methods. I blame Union and company management.
    The companies that have unions have them for a reason, at some point in time they deserved to be unionize for the way they treated the workers.
    I have no qualms about hard working brothers, it is the lazy workers and corrupt union management I have issues with.

  21. Brian Opsahl

    What corrupt Union Management are you refering to exactly ? since I am a Union Officer of my local,and I have never seen nor heard of corruption in a long,long, time..so is Fox news stuff your claiming or are you pissin in the wind here….?

  22. Then you must be down wind.


    “Financial corruption was a major presence on the radar screen in 2009. Long-plagued unions such as Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 (Queens, N.Y.) and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 (Northern New Jersey) each witnessed a raft of guilty pleas by members and associates involved in scams. Michael Forde, the ethically-challenged chieftain of the New York City District Council of Carpenters and Joiners, was indicted for taking around $1 million in bribes from contractors in return for helping them avoid making contributions to union benefit funds. Benefit fraud, in fact, by far accounted for the biggest scandals. Union-run fiduciaries in Upstate New York are trying to figure out how to recover immense sums of labor funds stolen by now-imprisoned swindler extraordinaire Bernard Madoff via professionally-managed “feeder funds.” Carpenters Local 747 alone lost anywhere from $100 million to $150 million, while Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 267 found itself missing as much as $48 million. In a separate case, a Chicago-based money manager, John Orecchio, ripped off or otherwise mismanaged anywhere from $24 million to $60 million from union benefit plans, mainly in the Detroit area. And in perhaps the largest case of internal union fraud ever (and certainly in a solo capacity), benefits consultant Melissa King stole an alleged $42 million over some six years from accounts of New York City’s Laborers Local 147, the fabled “Sandhogs.” Due diligence by fiduciaries must have been on vacation.

    Even in absence of fraud, union benefit funds would be in trouble. The year 2009 saw the release and/or publicity of several reports revealing major shortfalls in union-sponsored defined-benefit pension plans. Across a wide range of industries, these plans are unlikely to fully cover their long-term liabilities and might well fall into the hands of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. While some of the problems were reversed during the recent stock market surge, the reality remains that pension underfunding long has been chronic. Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have taken notice. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., has introduced a bill to subsidize failing multiemployer union plans and impose major burdens on employers. Some might call that a bailout; others might call it corruption. Whatever one’s definitions of corruption,..”

    You ever played here?
    The UAW International’s golf course and education center operations on 1,000 acres near Onaway have together lost $23 million over the past five years, independent audits show.
    I am envious, sounds like a sweet course.

  23. Brian Opsahl

    Yes I have been their but as you should know there is alot more to the story….Do you know that the golf Course and the education center have been for sale for almost 5 years…the minute it started loseing money after the Auto crash in 2007 the UAW took a huge hit to.

    You report that one Union in NYC has had corruption so they all must be dirty…really !!
    Come-on …you also report that most of those Unions were ripped off by dirt bag Bankers and Hedge fund Managers….thats pretty thin wouldn’t you say…!!

  24. Brian, click the link no wonder you are somewhat clueless on the world around you. Just put head and sand and listen to MSDNC


    Probably 25 or more

  25. Brian Opsahl

    I dont do web sites from either side to much BS, sorry. we have trustees,auditors,and the Government. some jerks slip us but not very offten. In general they do way good than bad and raise everybody elses salarys up not down,good, not bad, I sure do no how little i made before working in our Union….their is NO comparison…none

  26. Illinois terminates contract with AFSCME union

    This is fantastic for Illinois; we are surprised glad to see the

  27. Kansas City, Mo. AFGE Local President Sentenced for Fraud
    IATSE Exhibition Hall Boss In New York Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
    New York Laborers Benefits Manager Melissa King Sentenced for $42 Million Ripoff
    Ohio Machinists Local Secretary Sentenced for Embezzlement
    AFSCME Local Secretary-Treasurer in Detroit Area Pleads Guilty
    Treasurer of NTEU Local in Atlanta Sentenced for Fraud
    UAW Local Financial Secretary in Detroit Pleads Guilty
    Philadelphia Carpenters Local Business Agent Sentenced for Theft
    AFGE Secretary in New Mexico Sentenced for Embezzlement
    Boston-Area Machinists Secretary-Treasurer Charged with Theft
    Arkansas Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement
    NYC Painters President Arrested, Indicted for Kickbacks and Thefts
    Business Agent for Machinists Local in Virginia Sentenced
    Letter Carriers Treasurer in Hawaii Sentenced for Embezzlement, Coverup
    Steelworkers Staff Representative in Pittsburgh Pleads Guilty
    AFGE Local Secretary-Treasurer in Washington, D.C. Pleads Guilty
    Illinois Transportation Union Local Boss Charged with Embezzlement
    Government Employees Local President in Virginia Sentenced
    Steelworkers National Political Director Indicted for Embezzlement
    Illinois Plumbers Local Business Manager Sentenced for Theft
    Missouri AFSCME Local President Sentenced for Bank Fraud
    Local Transit Boss in Ohio Pleads Guilty to $100K+ Theft
    Cleveland AFGE President Sentenced Following Jury Conviction, Guilty Plea

    still more, Clean your ears and maybe you will hear.

  28. Corporate and bank execs embezzle as well except they call it perks.

  29. “In general they do way good than bad and raise everybody elses salarys up not down,good, not bad, I sure do no how little i made before working in our Union….their is NO comparison…none”

    Unless of course the business closes it’s doors.

  30. If they embezzle it is a crime, if it is a “perk” then it isn’t a crime.
    If you work in a shop and they let you borrow tools, is that a crime when you borrow the tool or is it a “perk”?
    If the company provides coffee as a “perk” is that a crime?
    I am not always happy that idiot CEO’s who get golden parachutes and sometimes outrageous perks, but what do we do about it?
    Do we ask the government to control all wages? What is your solution Steverino?
    Should the government buy all existing shares of publicly traded companies and thus be the shareholder who decides salary and perks?

  31. Brian Opsahl

    Again, they do more good than bad and raise the salarys of everybody elses wages…this is a fact…and doc: how would you feel if I started showing everybody all the crooked Doctors or the incompatent ones…and Wilson what is it you do that I can dig in and show dirt on..
    You republicans always see the glass half emty instead of half full..

    I couldn’t afford a desent car or insurance or rent until I started working in a Union job…that is a fact, Why do you republicans want to race towards the bottem instaed of the top..?

  32. “Why do you republicans want to race towards the bottem instaed of the top..?”
    I don’t know Brian, why don’t you ask a Republican.
    So Brian, maybe we should unionize everyone? Is that what you propose?
    I would feel good if we locked up all crooked politicians, doctors ceo’s and union leaders?
    Like the senate leader who magically became a millionaire on a senators salary. I’d like to get to the bottom of that. There are lots of things I’d like to get to the bottom of and I am a registered Independent.

  33. Crooked individuals in any organization will certainly always exista and should be dealt with, preferably from within.

    I am not talking about crooked unions, I am talking about union leaders that are too stupid to realized that their demands are killing the very business that supports them.

    Speaking of unions, when are Brian and Patty going to start raging against Illinois Governor Pat Quinn? I expect the liberals to be foaming at the mouth and marching on Springfield any day now.


    If the country as a whole is headed for a fiscal cliff, then Illinois is headed for fiscal Armageddon lead by the longstanding unholy “union” of public employees and the Democrats.


    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn dropped a bombshell that echoed through the homes of the state’s 40,000 union employees over the Thanksgiving holiday.

    After extended contract negotiations, the Quinn administration announced Tuesday it would terminate the contract between the state of Illinois and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees, its largest employee union.

  34. Brian Opsahl

    Sorry for the slight…I shouldn’t assume anything, my bad, Dude beleive it ot NOT I totally agree with you on crooks …I dont care what side their on.
    Unions only represent about 7 % of the workforce. I would like to see that number higher. It will benifit the middle class that has taken a pretty big hit for some time.

    Do you realize the poverty line is at about 10.40 per hour and how many poor workers make less than that today thanks to the Bush economy we are still struggeling with. You don’t just recover from loseing some 21 million Manufacturing jobs that paid decent wages…!! So what is your occupation Wilson…?

  35. Brian Opsahl

    Can’t comment on the Quinn thing till I know the details, You don’t have to come out attacting though…you almost sound giddy to start the slamming…slow down son..?

  36. Brian: doc can’t help himself. He’s a pathological union-hater. It’s in his DNA.

    So are Obamaphobia and an affinity for anti-science political demagogues (which is especially curious for a man in a scientific profession).

  37. Wages have nothing to do with the “Bush economy”. Think world economy and you will be on track.

    I am not giddy, attacking or a pathologic union hater, I just know that I am right, particularly as it applies to public unions.

    And now Pat Quinn does too.

  38. As far as being “anti-science”?

    I have more science knowledge in my little toe than Patty boy has ever known.

  39. Brian Opsahl

    Again If you want a challenge badness I can start digging up all the bad Doctors that ripoff patents,hurt patents,kill patents,steal from patents,over bill medicare,medacare,in fact I have been a victim of one very unscrupulas wack Doctor, and how many of my Union brothers have done you personally wrong…? Sir !!

    Maybe I should look into organizing your office…for you !! …lets see now what is that Nurses,and Doctor office Union orginizers number….in Millwakee ?

  40. Brian Opsahl

    Since Reagan took over middle class wages have fallin to historic lows compared to at the same time wages for the upper incomes have went to historic highs…you can’t tell that our middle class is suffering that is tied directly to a bad economy…low wages buying power drops, good wages economy doe’s well….Facts..Doc thats all its in the History books now.

  41. Thanks for that link Milton. That is the most telling proof yet of how badly managed Hostess was. On top of driving a $2.5 bil per yr in sales company into the ground they managed to steal $50 mil in self funded pension contributions from their employees within 1 year.

  42. Brian Opsahl

    Yea but according to our local Union bashers it’s all the Unions fault. You no the guys who actully did the work…it’s all their fault, NOT the guys taking hugh bonuses and salarys while the Company is bleeding money…funny how nobody really mentions how those Union guys several times took pay cuts over and over to help this Company survive only to watch the Excutives take more off the top….rotten Union thugs…

  43. Another interesting column on the topic.


    Many people think of labor unions as organizations to benefit workers, and think of employers who are opposed to unions as just people who don’t want to pay their employees more money. But some employers have made it a point to pay their employees more than the union wages, just to keep them from joining a union.

    Why would they do that, if it is just a question of not wanting to pay union wages? The Twinkies bankruptcy is a classic example of costs created by labor unions that are not confined to paychecks.

    The work rules imposed in union contracts required the company that makes Twinkies, which also makes Wonder Bread, to deliver these two products to stores in separate trucks. Moreover, truck drivers were not allowed to load either of these products into their trucks. And the people who did load Twinkies into trucks were not allowed to load Wonder Bread, and vice versa.

    All of this was obviously intended to create more jobs for the unions’ members. But the needless additional costs that these make-work rules created ended up driving the company into bankruptcy, which can cost 18,500 jobs. The union is killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

    Not only are there reasons for employers to pay their workers enough to keep them from joining unions, there are reasons why workers in the private sector have increasingly voted against joining unions. They have seen unions driving jobs away to non-union competitors at home or driving them overseas, whether with costly work rules or in other ways.


    There is also a reason why labor unions are flourishing among people who work for government. No matter how much these public sector unions drive up costs, government agencies do not go out of business. They simply go back to the taxpayers for more money.

    Consumers in the private sector have the option of buying products and services from competing, non-union companies– from Toyota instead of General Motors, for example, even though most Toyotas sold in America are made in America. Consumers of other products can buy things made in non-union factories overseas.

    But government agencies are monopolies. You cannot get your Social Security checks from anywhere except the Social Security Administration or your driver’s license from anywhere but the DMV.

    Is it surprising that government employees have seen their pay go up, even during the downturn, and their pensions rise to levels undreamed of in the private sector? None of this will kill the goose that lays the golden egg, so long as there are both current taxpayers and future taxpayers to pay off debts passed on to them.

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