Was Hostess shutdown avoidable?

In November, America learned the well-loved and popular company Hostess Brand Inc. had filed bankruptcy. This has been the provider of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and many other delicious treats for years. A virtual panic swept across the nation, causing store shelves to be emptied and many individuals being fearful of losing a big part of their childhood. With the successful company setting tradition for many children since their establishment in 1930, one can imagine that’s a lot of people. While it is a sad thought to lose these delicious and nostalgic treats, people are missing the big picture.

The real tragedy here is not the dissatisfaction of taste buds, but that more than 18,000 people are losing their jobs.

Hostess’s decision to file bankruptcy is partly due to its workers striking, according to Hostess CEO Greg Rayburn in an interview on the ABC News website.


The strike started in November by workers who were upset about a pay cut that would reduce their wages by 8 percent, while also cutting benefits. When the strike went beyond the deadline set by the company to end it, the company chose to liquidate, according to a press release. Hostess filed for bankruptcy in 2004 and also in 2011 so this is not a huge surprise.

The decision didn’t hurt everyone, however. Federal bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain granted $1.75 million in bonuses to 19 executives, with the stipulation they would meet certain benchmarks in managing the liquidation, according to a press release.

While strikes have been a successful way to get voices heard and things changed in the past, it doesn’t seem to have worked in this case. Could the strike have been avoided? I think so.

It is understandable that workers would be upset over the pay and benefit cuts. However, despite this fact, different actions could have been taken to enable a less dramatic outcome. Taking legal action, petitions, or other methods might have been more lucrative and may have prevented the closing of the company.

If the issue had been brought to the attention of more people, things also might have turned out differently. When people come together, difficult tasks can be conquered. But, instead of coming together, Hostess’s situation was a result of taking sides and miscommunication.

Both parties, the workers and the executives, could have treated the situation differently in order to save the company. Instead, it seems as though the executives were apathetic to the conditions of their workers.

With the outcome not necessarily affecting them negatively, it’s easy to see that there was really no motivation for them to be concerned about the strike.

It’s a sad example of how the American dream is being neglected. I wish Americans would focus more on fixing problems rather than making things worse.

Sadly, money drives society and it seems that in Hostess’s situation, it’s every man for himself. Thus, the American people are suffering the consequences, and it doesn’t seem that anything is being done about it. Thousands of citizens are left unemployed, and the deliciousness of Hostess goodies is no more.

—Paris Burris

Online Editor

To contact Paris Burris, email onlineeditor@occc.edu.

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