Twinkies: Leadership sophistry with a cream filling

(As I’m writing this, Hostess and the now-smarter Bakers have agreed to confidential mediation, which means they get into a closed-door room, and figure out if both sides can save face. The business needs are a distant and pale second.)

Hostess and the Baker’s union. Seriously, folks??

Now, let me be clear… I don’t believe in the continued viability of unions in America today. I just don’t. I believe they have completely and absolutely outlived their usefulness, and become such an undue burden on business as to cost more jobs than they create, and create less job security for all but the most seasoned union veterans–who are damned near bullet-proof.

I think that’s wrong, don’t like it, cannot support it.

Having said that, the unions at Hostess are not the sole cause of the Twinky and Ding-Dong massacre. No, the legions of terrorism heaped on that company are many, and include all factions.

Leadership–you screwed up, royally. You agreed to stupid work rules with your unions when you were making so much money you were tripping over cash bags in the hallway. They didn’t force you, you agreed. Then, not content with that, you ignored a changing health demographic in this country.

Jeez, dudes, I’m 50 pounds overweight and even I know that the trash you put out is bad for me. There hasn’t been a Twinky, Ding-Dong or loaf of Wonder Bread (it’s a “wonder” since it never decomposes) in my house in a decade.

You were either asleep at the wheel, incompetent, or simply an idiot. You pick.

Investors. Are you kidding me?? I’m no Warren Buffet, but what the heck were you thinking? I’ll tell you what you were thinking, as I’m no idiot. You were thinking that, for a paltry cash investment, you could use debt for the rest of the purchase. Then, after spinning off lots of cash (while still posting crappy earnings) for a few years, you’d stiff the creditors via Bankruptcy, selling off the assets to someone whom in all likelihood you’ve already had discussions.

There’s a plan in here, believe me. You did not–repeat, did not–invest all that money without a well-thought exit, even if a bit nefarious and slightly shady. Shades of Gordon Gekko… I thought we were done with such silliness.

Finally, unions… yes, you (the Bakers) solely delivered the death (or now, near-death) blow. No one else did that, just you. You didn’t just refuse to sign a contract, or even file an Unfair Labor Practice. No, at the company’s darkest moments, you went on strike, making no demands for conciliation at all. You allowed the one or two leaders of your “brotherhood” to hoodwink you into believing that the evil (inept is likely a better word) Hostess leadership was bluffing. Now, you have those same leaders trying to convince you that if you must make further concessions, the job wasn’t worth anything anyway.

Well, I’m no math major, but seems to me that “$0” is less than any concession you would have made. You could have simply quit and worked elsewhere, but no… you (the union leadership) were hell-bent on destruction, and like rats of Hamelin behind the pied piper, you went along with this idiocy, happily plunging into the river for your demise.

How’s that working for ya, Einsteins??

It’s no wonder you’ve agreed to “confidential mediation.” Can you say, “oops!?!”

Plenty of lousy leadership, questionable ethics, loose morals, and poor decision-making to go around. This was a walking weapon of mass destruction, and Hostess was your target.

Well done.

But that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann

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