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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Columns

Hostess sealed its own fate


For the past week, America has been mourning the loss of one of its history’s greatest figures: the Twinkie.

As of Nov. 16, Hostess, the producers of fine American snacks such as the Twinkie, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and Fruit Pies, has filed bankruptcy for the second time. The president of Hostess, Gregory F. Rayburn, has made the claim that it was the multiple strikes and union staged walk outs from within the company that has pushed them to their breaking point.

For months now, two unions from within the company, the Teamsters, which represent the delivery workers and the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (the BCTGM), have been fighting with the company about reduced wages.

Some media like Fox News have taken this strike as the cause for the liquidation of the Hostess Company.

For a minute, let’s humor the idea that the union workers are responsible for the company’s collapse. Let’s ignore that during the strike, according to the Kansas City Star, 24 out of the company’s 33 factories were still operational or that the Teamsters Union actually did concede to the company’s cut wages and accepted their new deal. Let’s also ignore the number of supervisors and union workers who crossed the picket lines to keep the company moving.

What is left is a company that has repeatedly failed to meet the modern standards of baking production, selling the same products with little to no innovation for nearly a century. It’s a company that has been struggling out of its first bankruptcy in 2004. A company that in spite of all the concessions and pay cuts it forced upon its laborers in the face of the bankruptcy had still, according to a statement released by the BCTGM, managed to give its CEO a 300 percent raise increase.

When history looks back on the footnote that is the Hostess company, it will not be a story of how the evil powers of unions brought down one of the few American companies that was still producing in America. Instead it will prove a demonstration of what happens when a company refuses to adapt and operate on the terms of modern time. This historic fall of the Twinkie was not because of an evil, greedy union but rather the result of poor management.

For those who love the fatty, mildly sentient snack food known as the Twinkie, do not buy into the fear of the boxes of Hostess products selling for hundreds of dollars on eBay. The Twinkie itself is still far from flatlining. Vachon Inc., the company that owns the Canadian production rights for the Twinkie, is still going strong, and sooner or later what remains of Hostess will sell the name and recipe for those cream-filled  horrors to the highest bidder. Like the phoenix, Twinkie the Kid will rise from his own ashes.

But for the rest of us, Little Debbie always had better snack foods anyway.

Patrick Larose is a creative writing sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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