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Hostess Twinkies
It could survive a nuclear war...but not vulture capitalism
As a little boy in fourth or fifth grade I had a crush on a little girl. We used to eat lunch together every day and every single day I would try to trade something out of my lunch for the Twinkie that her mother packed in her lunch. I was disappointed every time as she never traded me for one of those golden cream filled cakes. (Why she did not want my bologna and ketchup with crushed Fritos sandwich is beyond me.) To this day I still kid her about not giving up those Twinkies.

When I met my first drill sergeant in the Army one of the very first things he screamed at me was that I "wasn’t (expletive deleted) at home sittin' on the (expletive deleted) couch eatin' (expletive deleted) Twinkies and drinkin' (expletive deleted) Mountain Dew." How I wanted the comfort of a (expletive deleted) Twinkie right at that moment.

Today it has been announced that Hostess along with Wonder Bread is going out of business. Of course the right-wingers are foaming at the mouth claiming that it is the unions' fault what with their ridiculous demands of fair compensation for work given to the company. Of course none of those on the right will acknowledge the CEO at Hostess got a 300 percent raise from $750,000 to $2,250,000. Now, I find $750,000 to be an outrageous amount of money for anyone to make ... $2.2 million is beyond outrageous and a 300 percent raise is well into the territory of obscene greed.

The average employee salary for Hostess employees is approximately $43,000 a year. The CEO makes $2.2 million, and management is asking for further wage and benefits concession, seriously? Hostess will live on—the brands of Hostess, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho-Hos, Wonder Bread, etc., are too valuable to be left to die. The brands and bakeries will be sold and some other vulture capital firm will provide financing and new non-union employees will be hired. My guess is that the new non-union employees will make less in pay and benefits than the average union wage of today.

To place the blame on the backs of the very people who built Hostess is wrong. It was the union bakers, the union line workers, the union route drivers that made Hostess into what it was. Not some CEO sitting behind a desk pulling in more money in one year than I will earn in a lifetime. It is also certainly not some vulture capitalist piling debt onto the company while sucking the profit out like a five year old sucks the cream filling out of a Twinkie. The unions didn’t kill Hostess ... it was greed that killed Hostess.

Today, I will go to the grocery store and purchase my last box of union-made Twinkies (possibly the first one I have purchased in twenty years). I will share them with my son and tell him stories of Twinkie the kid, how a little girl would not share her Twinkies with me and what my drill sergeant thought of them.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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