Twinkies Alive For Now: Judge Orders Hostess And Union Into Mediation


Twinkies probably weren’t going anywhere. The brand, along with Hostess’ other popular products, almost certainly would have been sold off to other companies. But Hostess, as a company, may not be over just yet. A federal judge reviewing the company’s bankruptcy filing is questioning why the union went on strike before going into mediation with the company, and is asking that both the company and the union take that step now:

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Twinkies won’t die that easily after all.

Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union will go into mediation to try and resolve their differences, meaning the company won’t go out of business just yet. The news came Monday after Hostess moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court citing a crippling strike last week.

The bankruptcy judge hearing the case said Monday that the parties haven’t gone through the critical step of mediation and asked the lawyer for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which has been on strike since Nov. 9, to ask his client, who wasn’t present, if the union would agree to participate. The judge noted that the bakery union, which represents about 30 percent of Hostess workers, went on strike after rejecting the company’s latest contract offer, even though it never filed an objection to it.

“Many people, myself included, have serious questions as to the logic behind this strike,” said Judge Robert Drain, who heard the case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York in White Plains, N.Y. “Not to have gone through that step leaves a huge question mark in this case.”

The procedural complications that are mandated by law as a part of the labor/management negotiation process never cease to amaze me. It’s a simple relationship. The union negotiates with management to establish a compensation contract for which the union membership will provide their labor. If the union doesn’t like their contract they can strike. If management doesn’t like the contract they can lock the union out and hire replacement workers, except that under federal law the labor dispute is kept alive indefinitely.

Lockouts and strikes often carry on for years and years, which is ridiculous. If either side wants to walk away, why can’t they?

The unions carry on as though they have a right to the jobs. As though, if they can’t have the jobs at the compensation levels they’re demanding nobody can have their jobs. But that’s not how free labor markets operate. If someone else is willing to take those jobs at a lower compensation level why shouldn’t they have that opportunity? And why shouldn’t the company have the right to pick a lower-priced labor force if things don’t work out with the unions?

Of, if a business would rather close its doors than sign a contract with the union, shouldn’t that be their choice too?

The problem with labor unions is that they don’t want to operate in a competitive labor market. They want to run a protection racket wherein they get the jobs they want at the compensation levels they want or else the company goes out of business.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • JW -American

    Bigger question is, and we will never know is…. Who called the Judge and told him what… If Hostess goes away, Obummer can’t save it, and its 18,000 jobs.

    Twinkies is as American as base ball & apple pie, Obummer cant have it said that less than a week after he was re-elected, a Major brand like Hostess was dead.

    but Obummer is torn, he can’t tell the Union themselves to get their heads out of their collective asses, because he owes Labor too much to do that. No “someone calls the judge to ‘Order” them back together.

    If it works out, word will slip out that Obummer made calls to both sides. If not, we’ll never know that the call was made.

    “Never let a Crisis go to waste” To some no more Twinkies is a Crisis of Biblical Proportions

    • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

      You’ve lost all oxygen to your brain with your head in the sand for so long?

  • kevindf

    Hostess will move to a right-to-work state or out of the country.

    • badlands4

      I read that some giant Mexican bakery is considering purchasing some of the products. I don’t imagine they will be keeping those jobs in the U.S.

      The bakery thrift store in Williston has already closed. Sold out what they could and then donated the rest to the Salvation Army food bank. I wonder if those stores will all re-open or if they are closed for good?

  • Thresherman

    So now a judge has the ability to tell a business that it cannot close to protect it’s remaining assets. Anyone else suspect that union funds got channeled to him somewhere along the line of his career?
    Actually, I hope that a way is found to save Hostess as I understand that the Bakers and Confectioneers Union members only account for a third of the 18,000 workers and it would be shame for the other 12,000 to lose their jobs due to union greed.

    • Neiman

      My thoughts exactly, what the hell business is it of this judge? If the unions and the business cannot agree, then the company has a right to say bugger off to the union and the business itself.

      • Your friend.

        It is the business of this bankruptcy judge, to make sure every step of the bankruptcy law is followed. If bankruptcy can be avoided, then he has to ensure he has done everything that is expected of him by law to prevent the entity from entering bankruptcy when alternatives exist.

        • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

          Few conservatives care about the facts when they are so committed to their emotional outbursts.

          • Your friend.

            The conservatives on this blog are lemmings.
            They are too chickenshit to do a little research AND GET THE FACTS.
            Instead the make stupid pronouncements like these two fellows called Thresherman and Neiman.

    • The Revealer

      When a company goes through bankruptcy there are certain steps they have to take, one of them going through mediation with the involved parties.
      It has always been like that.

    • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

      What utter bullshit. But, what else do you expect from bitter losers?

  • Roy_Bean

    In this case the company is asking for bankruptcy protection. Maybe Tim Heise can fill in a few details from law school, but essentially the business is asking the court to allow it to either not pay or have additional time to pay obligations that the business has. The court is settling a dispute between Hostess and its creditors not between Hostess and its union. This court action is really on behalf of the creditors. If any business, union or not, wants to sell off their assets, pay off their bills and shut the doors, that isn’t anybody’s business but the owners.

    • the Fighting Czech

      Please, dont confuse these guys with actual fact…

    • Matthew Hawkins

      Your post was rational until the last sentence.

      These owners and executives don’t want to shut down and take the cost. They are trying to loot the company and take no cost.

      The bankruptcy judge is acting correctly by stopping this temporarily.

      He would be more appropriate by dissolving their corporate charter and stop the looting.

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession


  • $8194357

    Ya gotta love the “clout” unions have…

    As a “minority” in America, they play large…

    Will anyone question just why Barack Obama met with Richard Trumka and the Progressive Caucus? Why is it that he met with them first rather than meeting with the congressional delegation? We as a nation should ask these questions because behind closed doors many things can be said that have very dangerous impacts upon our national standings. Why did Obama decide to meet with these particular groups? First we must find out just what does Richard Trumka and the Progressive Caucus have to bring into any discussion with the President of the United States.

    Richard Trumka, the head of most unions in the United States, was the man called to the White House to meet with President Obama to find out what he and the Progressive caucus think of the upcoming fiscal program created by an ineffective Congress. This man has close ties to socialistic ideology and it dates back to 1994.

    Read more:

  • John

    It’s about time the Courts said no to these private equity firms that want nothing more then fire sales and bonuses for poor management. 8 CEOs in 6 years and none of them with ANY bakery or food service experience. It’s clear they wanted Hostess to fail and then have the brass b**ls to ask for bonuses!

    • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

      But…but..unions……..and stuff.

  • Rick Olson

    I don’t know anyone personally who worked for Hostess. I kind of think the federal judge got involved is because the Hostess brand is a household word in millions of homes across America. Life without the Twinkie, the Ho-Ho, the Ding Dong or Wonder Bread would somehow be un-American.

    • Matthew Hawkins

      The federal judge got involved because Hostess is CURRENTLY in bankruptcy.

      It seems to me if they have planned for bankruptcy for a long time. The CEO and the four top executives got huge raises right outside the window which would make it illegal under bankruptcy law. They are looting the company.

      I doubt they ever gave the union any offer than would be any where near fair, because they don’t want the company to survive. Because they are looting it.

      This is a type of case where I wish the judge would deny bankruptcy and say this company is not adequately capitalized and allow the owners to lose their houses.

      Instead he will just let the workers lose their pensions, that were also fairly bargained for.

  • mickey_moussaoui


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    8. Homer City Funding LLC

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    10. Revolt Technology

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  • sbark

    The only thing that kept Hostess alive this long is the artifically low int. rates pushed by Obama and Bernake……..
    When….not if…..but when the QE printing, and the giant sucking sound of Govt using money kicks in……Int rates will skyrocket…….
    ……and there will be dozens of Companies just like Hostess burdened with union costs and pensions and unserviceable debt that will bite the dust……..

  • mickey_moussaoui

    If enough states legalize marijuana then Twinkies will be back

  • flamemeister

    Government solution: Case of Twinkies with each Obamaphone.

  • Neiman

    Wh said a judge gets to decide if any company can close its operations and go out of business?

    “The maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs said late Tuesday that it failed to reach an agreement with its second-biggest union. As a result, Hostess plans to continue with a hearing on Wednesday in which a bankruptcy court judge in White Plains, N.Y., will decide if the company can shutter its operations.”