The Demise of the Twinkie-Makers

So by now most of you have probably heard about Hostess Brands announcing it would begin to shut down its operations, blaming its demise on labor costs and a just-initiated strike by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union (the Teamsters recently made pay concessions for its Hostess Brands workers).

Since this is being broadly interpreted as another example of greedy unions making life impossible for poor, struggling job-creators, let’s give a little equal time to a statement by AFL-CIO president Rich Trumka:

What’s happening with Hostess Brands is a microcosm of what’s wrong with America, as Bain-style Wall Street vultures make themselves rich by making America poor. Crony capitalism and consistently poor management drove Hostess into the ground, but its workers are paying the price. These workers, who consistently make great products Americans love and have offered multiple concessions, want their company to succeed. They have bravely taken a stand against the corporate race-to-the-bottom. And now they and their communities are suffering the tragedy of a needless layoff. This is wrong. It has to stop. It’s wrecking America.

For those addicted to Hostess’ sugary products, it should be noted the company will sell off its most successful brands, so someone will probably still be selling Twinkies–just not Twinkies produced by the workers who have been making them up until now.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.