Nov
15
2012

Deadline passes on Hostess strike ultimatum: is liquidiation likely?

Very possibly.  Background here and here: the short version is that Hostess Foods is in horrible financial shape; it’s in the process of trying to stave off bankruptcy via drastically renegotiated emergency union contracts with the Teamsters and bakers’ unions; the Teamsters took a look at the books, blanched, swallowed hard, and took the deal; the bakers’ unions did not, and decided to go on strike; and Hostess basically told the strikers that if they didn’t stop striking by end of business today that the company would just go ahead and shut down.  The end of business came and went; and now we’re going to see whether Hostess will go through with their promise/threat.

And how serious is this threat? This serious:

The Teamsters meanwhile are urging the smaller union to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking. Citing its financial experts who had access to the company’s books, the Teamsters say that Hostess’ warning of liquidation is “not an empty threat or a negotiating tactic” but a certain outcome if workers continue striking.

There’s almost 19 thousand jobs at stake, here, and as far anybody can tell the striking unions seem to be operating under the assumption that a nebulous somebody will swoop in to restart production, once Hostess is liquidated.  This is considered to be unlikely by pretty much everybody else involved in the situation, and by “unlikely” I mean “barking mad insane.” It’s pretty diagnostic that the Teamsters – which is a union that is not unfamiliar with hardball tactics – is trying to wave off the strikers.  It’s even more diagnostic that the strikers seem absolutely determined to run the company into the ground, and probably expect applause afterward.

This would be funny, except that a lot of people may lose their jobs tomorrow – including people who WANT to work.   Also, I happen to like Twinkies, and I’m going to miss them if they go away.  We’ll see tomorrow whether they’re about to start flying off of the shelves.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

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