Hostess Twinkies Return To Shelves While Unionized Jobs Disappear

Written by Bryce Covert

Twinkies, one of the best known snacks made by Hostess Brands, are back on shelves on Monday after the company filed for bankruptcy late last year. Yet jobs at the company aren’t coming back with the dessert. While 18,500 people worked for the company before it filed, only about 20 to 25 percent of those jobs will return when all of the brands are brought back, according to an industry analyst.

Hostess used to employ about 2,500 workers to produce snacks, but the new iteration will use just 1,800, according to a spokeswoman for its new private equity owners. The reduction in jobs is thanks to an increasing use of machinery instead of workers, dropping some of the former Hostess brands, a new model for delivering products, and closing nearly 600 outlet stores in which it used to sell products directly to consumers.

Those who do get their job back won’t see the same pay, however. Employees are now making far less than they were before the liquidation.

And the workers who are hired back will no longer be unionized. Where nearly 80 percent of the workers were part of a union before the liquidation, today none will be.

The company has struggled with workers’ issues since it filed. In December, the acting CEO imposed an 8 percent pay cut across the board for all Hostess employees, yet his own $1.5 million yearly salary was exempt. It also asked for approval from a bankruptcy judge shortly after it filed to allow it to pay $1.75 million in bonuses to 19 of its executives. And even though the company blamed unions for its downfall, it tripled its CEO’s pay before the bankruptcy filing and increased other executives’ compensation by as much as 80 percent.

Other companies have demanded concessions from unionized workers as executives have enjoyed raises: Construction giant Caterpillar gave its CEO a 60 percent pay raiseto $17 million as it forced a pay and pension freeze on workers. Other companies have compensated executives in times of bankruptcy or financial instability. Failed financial firm MF Global awarded CEO Jon Corzine $8 million after filing, while Vikram Pandit got $6.7 million after he resigned as CEO of Citigroup even though he oversaw an 88 percent profit loss in his final quarter.

This post was originally published at ThinkProgress.

Photo Credit: Lost Tulsa on Flickr

99 comments

Margaret Goodman
Margaret Goodman3 years ago

I encourage the union-haters to eat as many Twinkies as possible, because that diet might well shorten their time among us.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

Okay...?

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

Sarah…….thats a lucicrous statement. Unions are weaker now than they have been in 40 years. They have little or no power.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

The unions are why we lost Twinkies in the first place. Unions had their place and time. They have let power go to their heads and have gotten power hungry. Now they are destructive, destroying everything they touch.

john hall
john hall3 years ago

Hostess Twinkies are pretty good had some last night and they taste so much better knowing no union had a hand in it .

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you ClimateProgress, for Sharing this

Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo3 years ago

This is disgusting news. Boycott the garbage.

Kyle N.
Kyle N.3 years ago

I support any company that is non union. They become more efficient, workers are free to do what they want, can more easily move up in position. The simple way to put it is, if you don't like where you work, find someplace else. The idea that non union is paid less than union is false.

Ronald Walker
Ronald Walker3 years ago

Union is not the problem when 2% of the employee make 80 of the pay. The 2% is management

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

Well Billie. You seem to forget comapnies AND unions sign contracts. its not a dictatoprship from the union to the company. And those cases are rare anyway. Stop acting like they are the norm.