All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Otter Limits: No more Twinkies?!?

Paul J. Richards / Agence France-Presse
Hostess Twinkies and Ding Dongs to be no more.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

By Steve Long

The Otter Limits

Posted: November 16, 2012

EDMOND, Okla. -- No more Twinkies. No more Ho-Hos. No more Ding Dongs. No more Fruit Pies. No more Wonder bread. What a sad day indeed.

Almost a year after filing for bankruptcy, Hostess announced today that it was closing its doors.

Hostess was founded in 1930 in Kansas City by Ralph Nafziger. Originally called Interstate Bakeries, it was started as a wholesale bread manufacturer.

On January 10, 2012, it filed for bankruptcy. This was actually the second time the company had filed for bankruptcy, the first time having been in 2004.

Interestingly enough, the company stated in its bankruptcy filing that the reason it was not able to stay afloat was due to loss of profits due to obligations to union pensions and medical benefits and restrictive work rules, set forth by the labor union that represents its employees. That union, not surprisingly, is the Teamsters Union.

It was reported in July that the union was going to agree with a cut in employee pay and benefits if the company agreed to maintain the pension program. That deal never came to fruition though because earlier this month, the company's employees went on strike.

And what was the response by the company to the strike? They lay off most of its employees, which numbers nearly 20,000 people and sell off all of its assets.

I really have to say, as I have said before, that labor unions are not the pure bastion of employee protection that they once were. In fact, and I have said this before too, it has gotten to the point that labor unions have become obsolete. There is no reason for them to exist anymore and this situation with Hostess is yet another example of why the organized labor movement does more harm than good.

Labor unions are supposed to help their members and the result of their efforts here just put nearly 20,000 people out of a job.

With the economic climate the way it currently is, and with unemployment already being so high, causing so many people to be out of work is going to drive us further off that fiscal cliff we keep hearing about.

This is the reason that I believe a national right to work law is so important. If all of these employees at Hostess had the right to choose whether or not they were going to belong to this union and had the choice to pick between siding with the union on their demands and keeping their jobs, I'm almost 100% certain they would choose to keep their jobs. These people aren't idiots. Well, then again, maybe they are for siding with the labor union.

Another recently union-related story is regarding the electrical workers union up in New Jersey. There was a group of electricians that came up to volunteer their time to help out in getting New Jersey's power restored but they were turned away because they were not union electricians. Really? Really people? Thousands of people not getting electricity because of a terrible storm, other people volunteering to help, and they get turned away because they aren't union?!? This is absolutely disgusting to me.

I believe that the time is right for a national right-to-work law in the United States. People need to be given a choice on whether or not they belong to a union. Labor unions have become nothing more than political machines that are only in the game to maintain their own political and financial power and in my opinion, these unions need to be brought down.

A national right-to-work law would put these labor unions in their place and force them to give potential employees an incentive for taking their money out of their paychecks and remaining union members. These labor unions simply need to give these employees a reason to stay with the union.

In the past few years, I have read entirely too many stories about problems with labor unions. The teachers' strikes in Washington state a couple years back (which are, by the way,illegal) is an example. And there was the potential of Boeing leaving the state of Washington for a right-to-work state because of the constant striking by the machinists union there.

Then there was the labor movement in Wisconsin unsuccessfully working to get Gov. Scott Walker removed from office. And most recently, the failure to reach a deal between the National Hockey League Players Association and the league itself, possibly shutting down the entire 2012-2013 hockey season.

Things like these are just adding fuel to the fire in the anti-labor union movement. They (the labor unions) want to be seen as the champions of the working man but events like the Hostess layoff are certainly not winning them any fans.

Here is an article that was in the Florida Times-Union regarding the situation.

Copyright 2012 The Otter Limits

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd

Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK