Congratulations, Little Debbie: Hostess Is Going Out of BusinessS

Bad news for people who like shitty, bland, nutritionally-void food made by ethically questionable companies: Hostess, the food manufacturer behind Ho-Hos, Wonder Bread, and Twinkies, has filed a motion to shut down and sell all assets as soon as possible, citing the financial blow dealt by the recent strike nationwide strike by Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union as their reason for ceasing operations.

Hostess workers had been on striking for just over a week to protest the company's recent benefits and wage cuts and were planning to return to work having recently reached an agreement between Hostess and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Now, however, Hostess Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn has released a statement claiming that the vast majority of their workforce will be laid off immediately.

He says:

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike...Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."

It's likely, however, that the strike's a red herring. Hostess has been in financial trouble for some time now, having filed for bankruptcy twice since 2004, and is quite possibly using its employee conflict as an excuse to liquidate. At least that's the union's point of view.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Union President Frank Hurt said on Thursday that the crisis at the company was the "result of nearly a decade of financial and operational mismanagement" and that management was trying to make union workers the scapegoats for a plan by Wall Street investors to sell Hostess.

It does indeed seem that Hostess has miraculously mismanaged its funds. The company's product sales have been steadily decreasing in recent years, leading to a 30% pay and benefit cut to its employees (except the executives who, in the grand old corporate tradition, got pay increases).

Of course, the real tragedy here is with the 18,500 people who have lost their jobs. Despite Hostess' claims that it was the strike that permanently crippled its operations, the fact remains that its have been hurting employees with corporate fuckery for years now. Announcing plans for liquidation barely a day after reaching an agreement with the union is just the final blow.

No more Twinkies? Hostess plans to shut down [Chicago Tribune]
Hostess, maker of Twinkies, to go out of business; strike cited [LA Times]