By Nick Keppler
10:45 AM EST, December 12, 2012
Union thugs have apparently killed the Twinkie.
Last month, Hostess Brands, the makers of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Sno Balls, Devil Dogs, Zingers and other varieties of diabetes in a box, announced its closure. In a statement, Hostess said a two-week-old strike by a Teamsters-affiliated bakers union "crippled its operations," blaming 18,500 employees for the loss of their own jobs.
Never mind that Hostess had gone through a few decades of risky mergers and acquisitions ending with a bankruptcy filing in 2004. Never mind that since then the company has had six CEOs. Never mind that the fifth, Brian Driscoll, oversaw an increase in pay for the company's top executives (including his own, from $750,000 a year to $2.5 million) as the company was planning to ask for concessions from rank-and-file workers (including an 8-percent reduction in wages, a 32-percent decline in benefits and a 75-percent cut in pensions). Never mind that profits for Hostess have steadily dipped since parents realized globs of soppy bread and high-fructose corn syrup might be making their kids fat, dropping by about 30 percent since 2003. Never mind that even in its death throes, Hostess is acting like an awful corporation, asking a bankruptcy court for $1.8 million for bonuses to executives for the bang-up job they've done. Never mind any of that; just blame the riotous little punks who insist on making $20 an hour.
Since the announcement of Hostess's demise, boxes of Twinkies have been put on eBay for as much as $2,000 and people have been buying up and hoarding their favorite snack cakes — which they can do because Twinkies were engineered by food scientists to last through long truck rides and shelf displays and hence erode as slowly as some kinds of titanium alloy. Also, unlike humans, mold-causing microbes know better than to eat that shit.
Yes, 18,500 people have lost their jobs. This includes 200 Connecticut residents who worked at Hostess plants in Bridgeport, Cheshire, East Windsor, Norwich and Uncasville. And I am always sorry to hear about anyone out of work in an economy where jobs are scarce, but, in the big picture, is the end of a poison-selling evil conglomerate really a bad thing?
The tobacco industry shed a mass of jobs since smoking was linked to cancer. BP has downsized a few sectors since the 2010 oil spill. Fewer people are employed by the finance sector than were back in mid '00s, when banks were literally hiring former bartenders to approve subprime loan applications. Since when is a job inherently a good thing? If your job involves ruining something — be it our health, our ocean, or our global economy — the loss of your job is a gain for everyone else, even if you are just an accessory to the crime. Not all companies provide something of social benefit. This world would be a better place if Philip Morris, Goldman Sachs, Fox News, Halliburton, Koch Industries, McDonalds, MTV, super PACs and the mafia all employed zero people.
The same can be said for Hostess, which foisted addictive, nutritionally worthless gunk on the American people and used cartoon characters to market it to children. Next time you're craving a snack, don't waddle down to your cellar for the haul of Ding Dongs and Sno Balls you stashed there. Grab an apple or orange or something else that your great-grandparents would have recognized as edible.
The question should not be what caused the death of Hostess. The question should be how it stayed alive for 80 years by telling people to eat things that are not food.
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