Hostess Brands, having already murdered over half of it's family of bakeries and killed thousands of jobs, has been placed on suicide watch. Suicidal ideation is evident in a threat by Hostess Brands' management to sell the company in pieces if employees don't submit to further violent cuts to pay and benefits. Hostess Brands' will be in bankruptcy court again wensday, trying to persuade a federal bankruptcy judge to grant Hostess Brand's death wish and force workers to accept a concession contract. The Baker's union members will then have no choice but to strike... Heck, when they're killing damn near half your jobs anyway with a demand to close nine and sell six of their thirty odd surviving bakeries, you got nothin' to lose.
For going on three decades now, Hostess and its earlier bodies corporate, Continental Baking and Interstate Bakeries, have laid waste to over half their bakeries in search of higher profits. Around the country, the carcasses of their once vibrant bakeries lay rotting in Detroit, Clarksdale, Pomona, East Brunswick, Tampa, Oakland, and dozens of other cities. When the massacre started, this was a profitable company and had been even through the depression... After killing off most of their bakeries, Hostess Brands is now bankrupt, again. A year ago Hostess Brands, after decades of regular funding, violated the contracts it had signed with its workers and began starving the worker's pension plans by refusing to fund them. At the same time, top management tripled their own pay.
If Hostess Brands refuses to negotiate an agreement with its workers, It's remaining bakeries ovens will likely go cold after the last bake friday night. The company appears unable to recruit scabs- Heck, the smell of imminent corporate death so permeates Hostess Brands that they're having trouble filling regular job openings. Hostess Brands suicide strategy is simple... Fire nearly 20,000 workers and have a "going out of business" sale.
Now if Hostess Brands could be sold as a continuing entity and its worker's jobs saved, that might be a viable strategy. But what Hostess Brands ain't outright killed they've crippled with neglect. I hear scuttlebutt from the bakeries of neglected maintainence and frequent breakdowns. Hostess Brands has built some new bakeries, but many of them were intentionally built far from big metro markets in places like Maine and Nevada in hopes of evading unionization. To make matters worse, they're high speed bakeries with way more capacity than needed to supply Las Vegas or Maine with bread, necessitating profit killing 500 mile round trips to major markets like southern California, Boston, and the NYC metro. And the trucks? The average Hostess Brands' truck is 18 years old, a quarter century before this corporate massacre started it was 7. No wonder some of Hostess Brand's bakeries are running up six figure truck rental bills. So much of Hostess Brand's remains will be of more interest to the scrap metal buyers than other bakeries looking to expand- a thirty year old truck with an aluminum body and it's "throw away" engine rebuilt once already is worth more to the scrap yard than a baker needing reliable delivery vehicles. Same with much of Interstate Brand's "unique" assets like the hundred thousand or so "racks", giant shelves on wheels used to carry bread on the delivery trailers. Add to that scrap pile eight thousand handheld computers that cost a thousand or so new but couldn't keep up with the cheapest new smart phone and hundreds of cab over engine semi tractors that almost nobody wants... Yup, the creditors will get pennies on the dollar, and nearly 20,000 living wage jobs will be killed.
So Hostess Brands, tear up that suicide note. Instead of making more threats, negotiate with your workers and come up with a fair contract that will give Hostess Brands another century of life.