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Twinkies brand goes bankrupt: Hostess overrun by Ho Hos and Ding Dongs

twinkies092211_optBY PAM LOBLEY
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
NOW THAT’S FUNNY

Snack time is over. Hostess, who has gone into bankruptcy twice already, has announced it will close.

Ask not for whom the Ding Dong tolls, it tolls for thee. Now if there’s a nuclear apocalypse, we’ll have nothing to eat.

I love Twinkies. I know they’re full of fake stuff and tons of sugar and blah blah blah. I like them way better than Cinnabon, or a scone, or any type of cookie. I’m not alone; people all over the country love them. Over 951 Twinkies are baked every minute.

How could a company with such a successful product be $1 billion in debt?

The timeline of Hostess and Twinkies (which were invented in 1925) includes lots of bakeries acquiring other bakeries through the years until by the 1990s Continental Bakeries (owner of Hostess) was acquired by Interstate Bakeries for $330 million. That’s what I call a Treat.

However, by 2004, the company filed Chapter 11. Sounds like the Ding Dongs and Ho Hos were not just the products, they were running the place.

They got back on their feet, but filed again in January, and have been in a struggle between two hedge funds that manage the company, and two labor unions that work for the company.

As reported on CNNmoney.com, the company had reached a deal with the Teamsters, who narrowly approved a new contract with reduced wages and benefits, but the bakers union rejected their deal. They couldn’t rise to the occasion.

The company then closed three plants at loss of 647 jobs. It has gone back to bankruptcy court to force their bakers back to work, but said that if the bakers were not back at work by Thursday evening, Hostess will have no choice but to liquidate. They say they’re getting creamed.

The bakers don’t want accept the 8 percent pay cut and the decrease of 17 percent of employer contribution to their health insurance plans. Pension funds would also take a drastic hit. The new contracts could have saved the company $200 million, and they would still have to restructure lots of debt.

With the union strike, Hostess said it didn’t have a Sno Balls’ chance in hell of surviving. And now, the proof is in the pudding.

I hope that another company will just buy the Twinkie brand. I don’t care where they make them; I just don’t want their shelf life to expire.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Check out her blog: Better Living Through Chaos! Follow her on Twitter @plobley.

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