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home : opinions : letters August 1, 2014


11/27/2012 1:07:00 PM
Letter: Hostess failure not just fault of unions

Editor:

Once again, Jim Barber shows that he would rather rely on ideology and Fox News Channel than facts.

In his letter blaming unions for forcing Hostess Brands, Inc. into bankruptcy, he ignores the role of poor management, increased competition and decreasing market share. More important, Barber ignores the unabashed greed of the company’s executives and the venture capital company that owns Hostess.

Prior to bankruptcy, the bakers union had been asked to agree to an 8 percent cut in salaries and a 32 percent cut in benefits. At the same time, it was revealed that the CEO’s salary had been raised from $750,000 to $2,550,000 (an increase of 300 percent). At least nine other executives also had been awarded massive salary increases.

In other words, the workers had been asked to sacrifice so that the executives could live a life of exceptional privilege.

This is one more example of a vulture capital company that could care less about workers and the long-term health of a company. It’s simply looking for a quick return on its investment. Indeed, prior to investing, the company had likely already decided that the parts of Hostess that can be sold off in bankruptcy are more valuable than the company as a whole.

Gary LaMaster

Cornville


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• Letter: Blame the unions for no more Twinkies!


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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012
Article comment by: M J

"Did you find that on some partisan disinformation website or did you just make it up?"

Good one ..... that made me laugh out loud .... thanks nutso!


Posted: Sunday, December 2, 2012
Article comment by: Cody Flecker

Management takes all of the risks in running a company, while workers sell their labor for a fixed income. The lowest paid worker at Hostess made $ 20k per year. That's not a great wage, but considering that you do not even need a high school education to do that work, it's not too bad.

Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Hostess posted $2.5 billion in sales in 2011, but the company still lost $341 million and did not have cash reserves to survive a strike. Why was the company in such bad financial shape? A few reasons:

  $52 million in Workers Compensation claims for 2011.
  372 collective-bargaining agreements that required the company to maintain 80 different health/benefit plans and 40 pension plans.
  $31 million increase in wages, health care, and other benefits for 2012.
  Union make-work rules that required cake and bread products to be delivered to a single retail location using two separate trucks, disallowed drivers from loading their own vehicles, and restricted workers to loading/unloading only one product category.
  Huge loans from General Electric, Monarch Alternative Capital and Silver Point Capital that allowed the company to survive the last bankruptcy.

It was clear the company could not survive long term, and the increased compensation for executives gave the baker's union a good clue that if they accepted the company's offer it would simply be a short-term transfer of wealth to upper management. So they struck, forcing the company out of business before the union members' stake in it declined any farther.

So the ship was sunk with the cost of pensions, health care, and productivity-reducing make-work rules. The captains threw out a luxury yacht lifeboat and left the crew to go down with the ship.


Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: M J

LIberals
Naked envy, resentment and greed.
The liberal motto:
Whats mine is mine, and whats yours is mine.


Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Wacka: "the 'friends of sugar' (read C&H) managed to get their pet politicians (all Republicans) to install a 100% tariff on imported sugar"

Did you find that on some partisan disinformation website or did you just make it up? The U.S. has had sugar tariffs since 1789. The current tariff is part of the recurring Farm Bill and continues to be renewed by legislators from both parties. (The tariff is on sugar beyond a certain quota. The quota is set by the USDA, and was increased in 2011 in response to U.S. crop failures.)

In June of this year, an amendment to the Farm Bill was introduced that would have phased out sugar subsidies. 30 Democrats and 16 Republicans voted against the amendment.


Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Wacka Wacka

yessssss ... lets blame the people that do the actual work ... those evil, evil people.

Meanwhile, lets all ignore that sugar users in the US pay TWICE the amount the rest of the world pays.

Why?

Because the "friends of sugar" (read C&H) managed to get their pet politicians (all Republicans) to install a 100% tariff on imported sugar!

So what do you suppose really impacts the price of a Twinkie then?


Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Thomas B.

this just in...19 of Hostess' top execs to receive 1.8 million in bonuses. Bankrupt a company and you are compensated. The world of the 1%.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Phil Falbo

It is hysterical to listen to some anonymous half-wit claim the liberal ideology is "paranoid and delusional."

This is merely right-wing neurotic projection.

Witness the near catatonic state of the loser republicants as they struggle to explain their 'impossible' electoral loss.

The collective reaction of the still-shocked right-wing defines 'delusion and paranoia.'

Talk about a fantasy world...



Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: MJ... in the words of a wise man... .

Please...Proceed...

you are doing all you can to ensure that the GOP maintains it's place as the party in decline...

and doing a wonderful job of it... don't stop now.

please... proceed....


Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Living in a liberal fantasy world

Mr. LaMaster's letter is a great example of the fantasy world liberals pretend to live in.

In their world, the politics of envy takes top priority. Fairness trumps jobs.

So what if 18,000 people lost their jobs. That more than makes up for that nasty greedy mean CEO losing his!

Those that used to work for Hostess and are now facing a cold dark winter without a job might respectfully disagree.

They think the union screwed them.

But then again they, unlike Mr. LaMaster, probably are unencumbered by the paranoid delusions of liberal ideology.


Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

It was the AFL/CIO,Teamsters,Police,Fireman
Machinists,Iron Workers,Electricians,Painters
and the Pole Dancers Unions that caused the
twinkies to go belly up.
(no pun intended)


Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Article comment by: M J

So THAT'S why the company went out of business!!!!! Some folks in management (the evil evilllllllllll management) got a pay raise.....that explains it ALLLLL!!!

I'm suprised that "barry the anointed one" didn't ride out of sky on his magical unicorn and give the bakers union a bakers union bailout ....... what's that .... ooooo..... the bakers union didn't give barry enough money during his re-election run?......toooooooo bad.


Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Article comment by: two cents

Declare bankruptcy, sell off your factories and equipment and move to Mexico. Pay cheaper wages, less government oversight and twinkies will re-emerge on the shelfs almost as if they had never left at all.

We as Americans, will continue to buy twinkies and all the hostess goodies and hostess owners will be even wealthier. Its just another example of outsourcing and we are letting it become too easy.

We are being forced to accept 3rd world wages and no benefits, with no recource for the ones that outsource. They use to say, America, love it or leave it. I think corporate executives that outsource jobs to other countries, should be forced to relinquish their own passports and citizenship to this country!

just my two cents, for what its worth


Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Article comment by: how dare you assault them with facts! .

We all know that it was just that all the conservatives were so busy spewing talking points in hopes of winning the election...that they forgot to eat more twinkies!!!!!!

the blame rest's squarely on the shoulders of those that seem to be crying the biggest crocodile tears.

funny when you give them the free market capital economy they ask for they decide they don't like it so much.

well as that french lady said... let them eat highly processed hydrogenated oil cream filled sponge cake!


Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Article comment by: Phil Falbo

Alright, Gary!

Let me be the first to blame the Jim Barber's of the world for his beloved Twinkie's demise.




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