It appears as if the future of Twinkies and other Hostess Brands snacks is appearing more bleak. After several years of costly concessions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM) authorized a walk-out earlier this month after Hostess received bankruptcy court approval to implement a wage cut that was not included in its contract.
The company won court approval on Wednesday to start winding down in a process expected to claim 15,000 jobs immediately and over 3,000 more after about four months. Surprisingly, interviews with more than a dozen workers showed there was little sign of regret from employees who voted for the strike. They said they would rather lose their jobs than put up with lower wages and poorer benefits.
“They’re just taking from us,” said Kenneth Johnson, 46, of Missouri. He said he earned roughly $35,000 with overtime last year, down from about $45,000 five years ago. “I really can’t afford to not be working, but this is not worth it. I’d rather go work somewhere else or draw unemployment,” said Johnson, a worker at Hostess for 23 years.
Workers compiled a laundry list of frustrations with their employer, from rising healthcare costs to decreased wages and delayed pension benefits. They even cited a $10-per-week per worker charge they said Hostess claimed was needed to boost company capital. “They have taken and taken and taken from us,” said Debi White, who has worked at Hostess for 26 years. “They have been walking around stomping their foot saying either you give in … or else we’re going to close you now. Well, go ahead, we’re tired of their threats,” she said. “That’s how we feel.”
Since news of the company’s possible fold hit the media, there has been a surge in Hostess Brands snacks throughout the country. Perhaps those sales can also be used to keep the company afloat.