After a century of success in the bakery and snack food industry, Hostess is going belly up. Hostess had been the model company on which similar firms on this and other continents were built. Many of those foreign firms are still thriving – for now. But the original Continental Baking Company, parent to Hostess, is closing the doors on this division. Citing labor problems, ongoing strikes, plant sabotage, and the cost of doing business as an employer in this brave new “free insurance” world, CBC has filed for bankruptcy. Eighteen thousand union workers will join the rolls of the unemployed.
Hostess’ famous product line is more than a snack food, it’s a cultural icon. Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Fruit Pies, and Zingers have carried us through when all our other cultural norms were shaken. It seemed that Twinkies would always be there… Really, they never rot. And after a person accumulates a good size spare tire from eating too many Hostess snacks, it never goes away either. And that may be the root of Hostess’ problems: Michelle Obama’s war on obesity.
The First Lady’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity (note the thumbnail shows a child eating a white bread sandwich), especially, as well as in the general population, seems like an admirable ambition. Surely, improving the health of American youth can’t be a bad thing. However, diets don’t work without exercise. Making a kid work for his Twinkie is a lot more effective and more productive than simply cutting off the supply. Let’s come back to that in a minute and we’ll expand the scope.
Now we get news that Papa John’s Pizza will impose an “ObamaCare Surcharge” on it’s products and cut employee hours, effectively making all their full time, decently benefited employees into part time employees to dodge the employer costs of ObamaCare. This, claims company founder and CEO, John Schnatter, is necessary to remain a viable business. He’s probably right, sadly. The group Rebooting America certainly thinks so as reported in Huffington Post. PapaJohn’s FaceBook Page has a preponderance of negative reaction to that announcement. So, is it better to allow that company to go bankrupt as well? That would be another 16,500 people joining the unemployed.
And (this is a big AND) WalMart is facing the possibility of a system wide event this coming Friday, so called “Black Friday”, the day that WalMart and many other retailers depend on to show a profit for the entire year. Arkansas-based WalMart has filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to protect WalMart from pickets and non-employee protesters who intend to march at all domestic WalMarts that day. How can there be pickets if WalMart employees are not union? How can the NLRB intervene in a labor dispute where there is no organized labor? What major retailer sells more Hostess snack cakes than the next five combined?
WalMart directly employs more than a million people domestically. It also indirectly employs a half million or so Chinese workers and a quarter million or so in other south Asian and Pacific rim countries. Now do you see why this is a “World Economic Collapse” not just a minor dip in US economic health?
With close to 2.2 million employees worldwide, Walmart has faced a torrent of lawsuits and issues with regards to its workforce. These issues involve low wages, poor working conditions, inadequate health care, as well as issues involving the company’s strong anti-union policies. Critics point to Walmart’s high turnover rate as evidence of an unhappy workforce, although other factors may be involved. Approximately 70% of its employees leave within the first year.[source] Despite the turnover rate the company still is able to affect unemployment rates. This was found in a study by Oklahoma State University which states, “Walmart is found to have substantially lowered the relative unemployment rates of blacks in those counties where it is present, but to have had only a limited impact on relative incomes after the influences of other socio-economic variables were taken into account.”[source]
Posted on November 12, 2012 by Brennan W. Bolt
New Rules Expected from NLRB: Sam Hananel of The Huffington Post writes that a new rule from the Labor Department will require companies to reveal relationships with union consulting companies even if the companies have no contact with workers (see our post regarding this proposed rule/interpretation). The National Labor Relations Board is also expected to start work on a rule requiring businesses to turn over workers’ phone numbers, emails and shift times to union organizers. [This one has a direct impact on the WalMart situation and is designed just for it – editor]
Labor Seeks More Pro-Union Agenda: The Washington Post carries an Associated Press article stating that labor leaders are looking for a more liberal, pro-union agenda from the White House after helping President Obama win battleground states.
Topping labor’s wish list — for now — is a push to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and discouraging Obama from agreeing to any deal with Republicans over the looming “fiscal cliff” that cuts into Social Security and Medicare.
But unions are also pressing for new measures that might help boost their sagging membership rolls. New investment in infrastructure would bring construction jobs for trade unions. Immigration reform — and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented Latino immigrants — would create a vast new pool of potential union members. And new regulations could remove some obstacles to union organizing.
So, is this all part of one plan by a single evil genius? Probably not, but it’s hard to tell, hard to dispel the idea entirely, based on past events.
Now how does that tie into the First Lady’s cause?
The following exchange took place while I was working this post.
Logan: we should go to Venice or Argentina
Logan: i need some twinkies!
Logan: i went to every storenonethey are selling for $60 on ebay
Oz: I’m gonna quote this whole conversationLogan: lol,whyLogan: haha,i was gone for a hour
Logan: yea,just because of a few hundred peoplei did not think that they would be on ebay
That is one more than mildly perceptive teenager who got out (on a scooter) and got a little exercise. Not for long, but some. So Michelle accomplished one of the goals of her campaign, she got a teenager off the couch long enough to go looking for Twinkies to sell as collectors’ items.
This is where I pay homage to Billy May “But wait! There’s more!”
The “Panic of 1890” was a killer for the Democratic party.
Wikipedia :The 1880s were a period of remarkable economic expansion in the United States, an expansion that eventually became driven by railroad speculation. Railroads were over-built, with expenses that could not be covered by revenues. New mines flooded the market with silver; its price fell. Farmers, particularly in the wheat and cotton regions, suffered from low prices.
One of the first signs of trouble was the bankruptcy of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, which had greatly over-extended itself, on February 23, 1893, ten days before Grover Cleveland‘s second inauguration. Upon becoming President, Cleveland dealt directly with the Treasury crisis, and successfully convinced Congress to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which he felt was mainly responsible for the economic crisis.
As concern for the state of the economy worsened, people rushed to withdraw their money from banks and caused bank runs. The credit crunch rippled through the economy. A financial panic in the United Kingdom and a drop in trade in Europe caused foreign investors to sell American stocks to obtain American funds backed by gold.
A hundred twenty years later, a few lessons that were not learned about mortgage lenders.
Woody Harrelson, you’re out of luck finding your Twinkies, dude.
For those who celebrated the “Pot Vote” in Colorado and Washington, guess your choice of munchies has to evolve. I think I’ll start marketing “4:45 Snack Cakes”…