Skip to main content

This is the new American story, but someone finally stood up and said, “Stop!”

Pundits should be applauding the Bakery Workers of Hostess Brands for standing up to Wall Street interests and standing for decent working standards and the middle class.

The truth is that the Bain-style vulture capitalists invested in Hostess to profit not by making quality products, but by bleeding the company of every dollar before discarding it.

They’re doing it because they can, because that’s what Wall Street speculators do when they get their hands into a company’s till.

And today, the millionaires are walking away, with an added twist. They’re blaming the bakers and others who faithfully made the iconic Twinkies and other Hostess goods for decades—not for untold riches but for a decent paycheck and good benefits.

Not even a week before Thanksgiving, not even two weeks after the American electorate rejected this winner-take-all-view of the world, more than 18,500 working people face the prospect of looking for work in a still-dismal economy.

This is a story America has heard too many times.

Wall Street investors first came onto the scene with Hostess about a decade ago, purchasing the company and then loading it with debt.

All the while, its executives talked of investments in new equipment, new research and new delivery trucks, but those improvements never materialized.

Instead, the executives planned to give themselves bonuses and demanded pay cuts and benefit cuts from the workers, who haven’t had a raise in eight years.

In 2011, Hostess earned profits of more than $2.5 billion but ended the year with a loss of $341 million as it struggled to pay the interest on $1 billion in debt. This year, the company sought bankruptcy protection, the second time in eight years.

Still, the CEO who brought on the latest bankruptcy got a raise while Hostess demanded that its workers accept a 30 percent pay and benefits cut.

The workers at Hostess want the company to survive and prosper. Of course they do. And they’ve proved their willingness to make sacrifices to enable Hostess to thrive. Just three years ago, the workers accepted wage and benefit cuts that saved the company a reported $110 million every year. Where did the money go?

It’s heart-breaking to think of each of those workers in cities and towns all across America who have seen their jobs vanish. But as painful as it is, it’s heartening to know these brave workers stood up against the greed and destruction of Wall Street.

It’s incredible.

The unified Bakery Workers rejected the last cruel deal from executives by a vote of 92 percent. They chose to raise their heads with pride, as well they should.

One way or another, working people in America have to stop this race to the bottom.

This Thanksgiving, I’ll be giving thanks to the Bakery Workers for taking a stand. Together, we will make America work for regular working people again.

Originally posted to Richard Trumka on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:43 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

skybluewater, Bob Johnson, Mirele, bink, Grassroots Mom, paradox, cat, Terri, Bill in Portland Maine, Chi, murphy, ferg, copymark, dalemac, teacherken, Gooserock, Pandora, greenbird, Shockwave, Mlle L, akeitz, eeff, ManfromMiddletown, RFK Lives, bookbear, Heart of the Rockies, bara, wonkydonkey, Loquatrix, ask, MillieNeon, boadicea, stevej, shanikka, Aquarius40, roses, doctor o, Toktora, CodeTalker, Voter123, Enterik, Terre, Glinda, ctsteve, Cedwyn, wader, Lilyvt, SneakySnu, TexDem, Miss Jones, Virago, agincour, potatohead, flatford39, RebeccaG, Timbuk3, Curt Matlock, Hillbilly Dem, lonespark, xyz, solesse413, Jen Hayden, Sybil Liberty, gsbadj, rapala, vcmvo2, Skennet Boch, Los Diablo, ichibon, T Rex, subtropolis, Heiuan, SherwoodB, kitchen sink think tank, citizenx, ChemBob, drewfromct, Brooke In Seattle, Laurence Lewis, Gary Norton, fixxit, eru, owlbear1, LNK, Pam from Calif, Dem Beans, Burned, coolbreeze, Hannibal, JanF, jbfunk, Paddy999, Sister Havana, Jim R, martini, irishwitch, Debbie in ME, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, CGG, profundo, koNko, dougymi, kto9, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, 4Freedom, gooderservice, LibChicAZ, tapestry, ER Doc, middleagedhousewife, BlueMississippi, CA Nana, blueoregon, One Pissed Off Liberal, pgm 01, FoundingFatherDAR, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, tgypsy, Deadicated Marxist, ninkasi23, Debs2, gloriana, yoduuuh do or do not, karmsy, rgjdmls, Mary Mike, terabytes, Dave in Northridge, zemblan, joedemocrat, bnasley, US Blues, second gen, wilderness voice, carpunder, uciguy30, bewild, A Person, TomP, fb, Mighty Ike, MKinTN, seriously70, mconvente, ScottyUrb, zerone, dadadata, tvdude, elwior, Fe Bongolan, Lujane, TomFromNJ, tofumagoo, catly, Tam in CA, mofembot, petulans, Notreadytobenice, My Spin, Karl Rover, priceman, JamieG from Md, DavidW, dzog, jeffhauser, shortgirl, statsone, JBL55, lostinamerica, ewmorr, pvlb, notrouble, Zotz, earicicle, shopkeeper, mkor7, CookyMonzta, papahaha, sfarkash, Quinagin, Words In Action, Broke And Unemployed, p gorden lippy, estreya, politik, Progressive Pen, ATFILLINOIS, batchick, dustb, gulfgal98, DiegoUK, pateTX, Patate, Maverick80229, Hawaiian, nosleep4u, Jorybu, Working America, not4morewars, translatorpro, no way lack of brain, Maximilien Robespierre, agrenadier, StateofEuphoria, spooks51, slowbutsure, afisher, implicate order, gmats, lupinella, boomerchick, mrsgoo, Kokomo for Obama, Lorikeet, Cinnamon, coffeeprocessingmachine, badscience, Wheever, smoothnmellow, merrily1000, Dreidlgirl, bluedust, Crider, mali muso, Liberal Mole, Sunspots, jadt65, sheepmama, DRo, Mentatmark, allergywoman, PrometheusUnbound, DawnN, BlueDragon, KansasNancy, ridemybike, stormicats, isabelle hayes, IndieGuy, Eric Nelson, rustypatina, JGibson, CA ridebalanced, shanesnana, deweyrose, nikilibrarian, rivercard, radical simplicity, Margd, Noddy, arizonablue, scilicet, Glen The Plumber, ShoshannaD, Buckeye Liberal, bisleybum, Jonathan Hoag, Chaddiwicker, nomandates, jbob, remembrance, JayRaye, gypsytoo, Yo Bubba, knitwithpurpose, The Dark Harbor, starfu, ApatheticNoMore1966, Fairlithe, JTortora, NH LABOR NEWS, garme01, Fleet

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site