Hostess Brands Bakers Would Rather Suffer a Job Cut Than a Pay Cut

Twinkies Bakers say they would rather lose their job than to take a pay cut

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.

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  4. The membership of those other unions were willing to take the cuts to keep their jobs, but the Baker's union's members felt they had already given too much back over the past contracts, and enough was enough. Its a really sad situation all around. I don't want to know what the other union's members are calling the baker's union's members, because they are blaming them for putting the company under, and the words are probably unprintable! But, I think it always goes back to these investment capital firms (like Bain Capital, for example, and many others) that basically buy these companies with very little money down, and then saddle the company with the loan debt, and wring the companies dry, while collecting their management fees in the millions from the same company they bought and saddled with debt. It is a story that has been repeated over and over again with thousands of firms that no longer exist.

  5. What about the other unions that accepted the concessions!

  6. This is a terrible loss to us consumers who grew up with these classic brands. What is possibly better than a Drake's Coffee Cake? It is unfair when company's keep taking and taking from the workers, and then the company closes down the plants. This seems to always happens when a venture capital or investment firm takes over from a real company. Here in the Bronx, the venture capital firms did the same thing, first with Stella D'oro Foods, and then Old London Foods. The workers were told to take huge concessions, or the plants would be shuttered and moved. In the case of Stella D'oro, the workers were on strike for over a year, and then the venture capital firm sold the company to another venture capital firm, who moved the plant to Ohio, with nonunion workers. With Old London, a big corporation like Kraft, sold the company to a venture capital firm, and they shuttered the Bronx plant and moved production to a nonunion plant in North Carolina. This is capitalism in its cruelest form, and race to the bottom for the American working class and middle class. Glenn Krasner in the Bronx, New York.