Twinkies-Banana Creme

Unions Permanently Deep Fry the Twinkie

Twinkie. The very utterance of the word evokes a sense of something both delicious and uniquely American. For over eighty years, the Twinkie has served as a cultural staple—bringing no small amount of joy to kids and adults alike. The “golden sponge cake with creamy filling” was invented in 1930 in Schiller Park, Illinois by a baker named James Dewar. The Twinkie became an instant success and later served as the flagship product of Hostess Brands.

Not content to be relegated within the narrow confines of snack food, the Twinkie transcended the wrapper to become something iconic. Innovative attendants at the Texas State Fair introduced the borderline magical deep-fried Twinkie to consumers. Urban legends about the supposed infinite shelf life of the Twinkie made their way into the cultural fabric both in film and on television.

But today, the urban legend has come to an end. The Twinkie is no more.

Hostess Brands has announced that its efforts to emerge intact from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing have collapsed due to a strike by union workers belonging to the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. In a fitting display of cognitive dissonance, union workers went on strike last week to protest proposed wage and benefit cuts needed to keep the company afloat. They were successful in preventing those cuts. In fact, they were so successful that they and most of the 18,500 employees at Hostess now find themselves unemployed.

The union president, Frank Hurt, claims that the liquidation of Hostess is not the fault of the unions, but rather a “decade of financial and operational mismanagement.” That may or may not be true, but the fact remains that any chance of Hostess emerging from bankruptcy was deep-sixed by the union’s irrational and economically illiterate demands to preserve wages and benefits that the company simply could not afford. It is interesting to note that the union’s own “fact sheet” states that even if Hostess had been able to emerge from bankruptcy, it would have retained “too much debt” and “too high costs.”

This is a fascinating conclusion. One wonders if Mr. Hurt took into consideration whether the high costs and debt was a result of his union’s salary and pension demands.

As Heritage’s James Sherk has shown, unions rarely seek to serve the interests of their members. As he states, “In the past, unions could allay these concerns with higher wages. Not anymore. Deregulation and free trade gave consumers choices. If unionized businesses pass on higher costs by raising prices, Americans will shop elsewhere. The hefty raises unions promise would bankrupt most firms, and they know it.”

The Twinkie has now become the case in point. The only upside to this is that the ever-growing number of food stamp recipients won’t be able to spend taxpayer dollars on this particular snack food ever again.

Great job, guys. Oh wait, those are gone now I guess.

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One thought on “Unions Permanently Deep Fry the Twinkie

  1. To the members of the Bakery, Confectionery Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union that were striking against Hostess, Great Job you stopped those wage and benefit cuts in there tracks!! Now, any idea where you will work next in this 8% unemployment Economy?? Just curious! No more talk about the greedy Capitalist, your greed has devastated 18,500 families!! HAPPY NOW??

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