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The Hostess with the Mostest … For the One Percent

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When do killers get a bonus?

When their incompetence kills good union jobs.

By now, we’ve all seen the outrageous headlines about Hostess executives getting $1.8 million in bonuses to liquidate their junk food company and eliminate 18,000 good jobs at bakeries and other facilities all across the country.

The company’s well-paid executives claim that union workers killed the company. Corporate propagandists echo this line, declaring that “Unions Killed the Goose That Made Hostess Brands Gold.” 

Business experts know better. As an analyst at Forbes reported, Hostess executives killed the company because they “failed to reinvent its junk food product line and make it more enticing to health conscious palates.” To make a bad situation worse they let private equity firms “load up the company with debt” that enriched hedge fund investors without helping the company.

In its last years of operation, Hostess doubled the pay of top executives while investing very little in new technology and advertising, investments that would have improved company profitability. Meanwhile, the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) which represents bakers at Hostess, agreed to major concessions, such as decreased pay and pension benefits for its members, which the company claimed would help save jobs.

“Hostess didn’t fail for any of the reasons you’ve been fed,” Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik concluded. It didn’t fail because its unions wanted it to die. It failed because the people that ran it had no idea what they were doing.”

Instead of blaming the workers, it’s time to organize and change a legal system that rewards incompetent job killers and punishes their hard-working victims.

This post first appeared on GoodJobsLA and is republished with permission.

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