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A new article goes much deeper into the Hostess story than any I have read. I was interviewed several weeks ago for it and it is clear that a lot of research went into this in the meantime. However there are a few things wrong with the story.

Also, I have not yet shared my views on the role of the Teamsters in the Hostess debacle. My choice was to not pick fights, following the leadership of my Union. That does not appear to be a returned sentiment. They should stop while they're ahead.

Dallas Observer- "Was Hostess' Death a Murder, Suicide or Natural Causes?"

My response is in the comment section of the article.
Overall this is a great story that covers many of the details that are left out of most media reports. I appreciate you pointed out that both Unions gave concessions the first bankruptcy and the hedge funds failed to live up to their end of the deal- fixing infrastructure and running the company. All while giving themselves repeated bonuses.

There are a few things wrong though. You discuss this as if the Bakers refused to negotiate with the company. That is false. The hedge funds were only willing to negotiate in bankruptcy court and refused to work out a deal in head to head negotiations, as is the historical standard. Negotiating in court is not a negotiation. The Bakers know the history of the judge and the hedge funds involved and saw NO reason pretend like we would be treated fairly. At this point, the hedge funds had already stolen our pension contributions ($4.25 an hour) and the judge had approved the theft.

You also portray the Teamsters as 'taking a lead' because of the (false portrayal of) Bakers as not negotiating. The Teamsters do not 'lead' the Bakers and thank goodness for that. They failed to enact the will of their membership and everyone who worked there knows it. As Mr. Storz attested to in this article. You point out the narrow vote of 4400 Teamsters but fail to mention the 'disqualified' ballots outnumber the 'yes' votes.

I also find the printing of the story about the Bakers alternative offer highly suspect. I have been immersed in Hostess news for years and am an active Union member. I have never heard this in my life until this moment. Who is the source of this claim? How do you know that they aren't misrepresenting the deal proposed? Why are they unnamed if they are telling the truth? Did you confirm this with anyone? Apparently not with any officials at the Bakers Union, as you point out.

Worst of all there's this. "Instead of mailing out ballots to its membership, like the Teamsters had, they held voice votes in their union halls." Says who? I voted by secret ballot in Lenexa, KS- the first bakery to vote. I can't speak for every bakery but clearly whoever told you that lie cannot either. Someone should ask the Teamsters why a mail in would be better since theirs was a colossal failure, and offended the MAJORITY of their membership at Hostess.

This article is fairly accurate about the company but is too generous to the Teamsters and too speculative about the Bakers. But thanks for including the previous concessions and the reasons the Bakers didn't trust the hedge funds.

And please stop using the phrase 'Union bosses', they are elected officials who are supposed to do what they are told by the membership, not the other way around. Maybe the Teamsters confused you.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Who shapes the narrative (5+ / 0-)

    Whether they are right or wrong often wins the public relations war.

    This is the nature of the new media markets.  Posts like this one, and any responses you provide help get a bigger picture out of what happened.

    And without effective response, that reshaped narrative becomes the accepted proof for people

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:11:50 PM PST

  •  Bakers were praised by all; Teamsters, not so much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluebarnstormer, rmx2630

    In fact, the Bakers threw the Teamsters under the bus in a joinder filed in bankruptcy court.

    Based on this joinder filed during bankruptcy proceedings, the bakers union argues that its costs were already competitive, that the owners had acknowledged this,  and that it was prepared to cede some final concessions had the Teamsters agreed to mark their costs to market.

    JOINDER OF THE BAKERY, CONFECTIONERY, TOBACCO WORKERS AND GRAIN MILLERS INTERNATIONAL UNION IN OBJECTIONS TO DEBTORS’ EMERGENCY WINDDOWN MOTION AND MOTION PURUSUANT TO SECTION 1113(e) OF THE BANKRUPTCY CODE

    http://www.bctgm.org/...

        In early summer of 2011, officials of the Company visited with officers of the BCTGM and made a presentation to them. Central to that presentation was the Company’s acknowledgement of what everyone in the baking industry knew; Hostess’ production costs were neither excessive nor out of line with the market but its distribution costs were – to the tune of between $80 million and $130 million annually.
        .....
        Accordingly, when advisors for the BCTGM began meeting with
        Company representatives in the late summer, continuing literally until the day before this chapter 11 filing, they made two things crystal clear: (1) they were prepared to recommend to the BCTGM leadership that it accept concessions if, but only if, the Company (a) marked its distribution costs to market, (b) established a sustainable capital structure, (c) developed a plan for new revenue, and (d) gave meaningful successorship rights to the BCTGM; and (2) it was the BCTGM advisors’ view that if these conditions were not met, BCTGM workers were likely to strike the Company, because they had lost faith in it and believed that liquidation was preferable to the death spiral the Company had created.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:47:28 PM PST

  •  You know, the Teamsters (0+ / 0-)

    seem to be more interested in attacking other unions than focusing on the real problem.

    What kind of union says:  "Well, we were willing to deal with the bosses, but that nasty other union wouldn't deal and ruined things for all of us!"

    this is not two kids competing for the approval of a parent; this is two groups of workers both being screwed, as far as I can see, by the same boss. Where's the good in this sort of fingerpointing?

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:47:28 PM PST

  •  Well, at least the photographer had fun. (0+ / 0-)

    Those are some (unintentionally?) hilarious article photos.

  •  The Observer (0+ / 0-)

    while not as widely read as the Dallas Morning News is at least a somewhat respectable paper.  Sorry they got so many things wrong, bluebarnstormer (BTW I love your username).

    "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

    by Silvia Nightshade on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:39:24 PM PST

  •  I'm no fan of Junior (0+ / 0-)

    meaning James Hoffa Jr, Teamster president.  But please remember the Teamster is your ally, not your enemy.  Thanks for asking them not to call elected union officers "bosses."

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:32:06 PM PST

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