As if the election results weren't depressing enough, now comes word that the company that produces happiness in a little cellophane wrapper is going under. Can you hear the sound of children weeping?
Hostess Brands CEO said Wednesday the company will liquidate unless striking workers return to the job by the end of the day on Thursday.
"We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike," Greg Rayburn said in a statement.
Workers are protesting a contract imposed by a bankruptcy court. The bakers union has called the contract "outrageous."
A liquidation would result in more than 18,000 workers losing their jobs.
Over the weekend, workers in the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, or BCTGM, went on strike at Hostess-owned plants in several states. The strike includes workers at the Dolly Madison plant in Emporia.
Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January, the second time it has done so since 2004.
Union employees in Emporia say in August of last year the company stopped giving them their pension earning. They say it now wants to cut wages by eight percent.
EIGHT PERCENT CUT IN WAGES? What, are these Twinkie bosses nuts?
Perhaps these unionized workers haven't heard: Unemployment is HIGH in American right now and it isn't getting better. In fact, this morning, the Labor Department announced unemployment benefits climbed to 439,000 last week – the highest it has been in 18 months. Considering this, the nearly 19,000 employees of Hostess, who are spread over 49 states, might want to rethink this strategy of putting their employer under. Seems to me accepting the bankruptcy court's contract might be preferable to filing for unemployment benefits.
And frankly, these unionized workers knew this was coming. As I wrote earlier this year, going into bankruptcy, Hostess was nearly a billion dollars in debt and faces high labor costs and rising costs on ingredients (thanks to the food nannies). It isn't easy doing business in this country right now: businesses face a hyper regulatory administration, increasing economic uncertainty, and growing fears about the cost of Obamacare.
I wish these workers good luck as they look for work. It won't be easy.