Food News

Hostess Used Workers' Pension Contributions to Fund Day-to-Day Twinkie-Making

Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, the unions-killed-the-Twinkie trope is still very much alive.

Never mind that Hostess completely failed to adapt to changing tastes or update its brand, that it went through seven CEOs in a decade, that it had already obtained deep concessions from workers while its top executives received pay increases and bonuses, and so on. If only the union workers hadn't selfishly refused to agree to draconian pay and benefit cuts, the company would still be afloat.

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported on yet another example of Hostess workers' shameless greed: they expected the money they had contributed to their pensions to actually go to their pensions. (h/t Dallas Business Journal via CultureMap)

That didn't happen. Hostess' $125,000-per-month CEO Gregory Rayburn, who wasn't around at the time, admitted to the Journal that the snack maker had taken pension contributions -- those deducted from Bakery & Confectionary Union & Industry International workers' wages, not added by the company as matching funds -- and used them to fund day-to-day operations as the company slid into bankruptcy.

"I think it's like a lot of things in this case," Rayburn told the paper. "It's not a good situation to have."

The workers with the Bakery & Confectionary Union & Industry International would surely agree.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson