The Bell Tolls For the Twinkie - UPDATED

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The Bell Tolls For the Twinkie - UPDATED

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Hostess Brands, the company that makes the venerable Twinkie, is shutting down its operations - or perhaps not!

The cream-filled confection known as the Twinkie, often viewed as one of the few foodstuffs that could survive a nuclear (or zombie) holocaust unscathed, is facing an unexpected but no less devastating end: the bankruptcy of the company that makes it. Hostess announced today that it is seeking permission from a U.S. federal bankruptcy court to close down, a move which will cast nearly 18,500 people out of work.

The company blames a strike by The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which represents around 5,000 Hostess employees, as the cause, saying it "does not have the financial resources to weather an extended national strike." The bakers went on strike over a new contract, recently accepted by the larger Teamsters union, which would leave employees with reduced wages and benefits. That deal came about after Hostess filed for bankruptcy protect in January, its second struggle with insolvency since 2004.

So how does a company that makes Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, Ho-Hos and Wonder Bread - the best-selling white bread in America, by the way - go bankrupt? It sounds like it could be an especially hard-nosed negotiating tactic, especially since Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn told CNBC that industry "overcapacity" means Hostess employees won't get their jobs back even though most Hostess brands will be picked up by other manufacturers as soon as they're available. But he also said that even if the bakers went back to work immediately, it's too late to change course on the shutdown.

Hostess can't begin liquidating its assets until the court gives it the green light, but all production of Hostess foods has ceased and no further deliveries will be made. Stores can sell what products they still have in stock, but the company said in a letter to its stores that it could provide no time frame for when the sell-off will take place and stock will become available again. I've always been more of a Ding-Dong man myself, but whatever your poison - Twinkies, Fruit Pies, Cupcakes or just enriched white bread, if that's how you roll - if you've got a thing for this stuff, you better haul it down to the local corner mart and stock up. This could get ugly in a hurry.

UPDATE: The Twinkie is saved! Or at least, it's not quite as dead as it appeared. The bankruptcy judge in the case declared that Hostess and the bakers' union have not yet undertaken the "critical step of mediation," and asked the lawyer for the union to request its participation. The company could still ultimately be liquidated, but it appears that the matter isn't quite as settled as Rayburn claimed.

Sources: CNN, New York Times

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Not my Chocodiles! That's it! Civilization is officially dead.

I know we'll see these again in one sense or another, I just wonder if it's going to be like New Coke or the reformulated Mars Bar. If Andy's right these guys are bastards for pulling this on striking workers.

But, how could this be?! <:'O

Wow. That's too bad. I'm not a huge fan of the various sweets the company puts out, but I've always enjoyed the occasional ding dong.

I'm sure we'll be seeing these treats come back sooner or later, even if it's just the generic kind. They're simply too popular.

Oh, fun story. My grandpa buried a twinkie a while back, then several years later he went and unearthed it. It was still perfectly fine to eat :D

Unions have their place, I'm more than willing to admit. But going on strike when the company is already under bankruptcy protection? HOW DID THEY NOT SEE THIS COMING? Oh, they have barely enough money coming in to function, let's fuck their revenue stream over! Did they think the slow collapse of the company in a bad economy was all just a very complex ruse to cut their wages?

Maybe they'd do better if they started putting pomegranate in twinkies

Seriously though, with all the profit & expansion of stores like Whole Foods & Trader Joe's, where did we think this money came from?

Sad. True. but I'd probably call it human progress

Formica Archonis:
Unions have their place, I'm more than willing to admit. But going on strike when the company is already under bankruptcy protection? HOW DID THEY NOT SEE THIS COMING? Oh, they have barely enough money coming in to function, let's fuck their revenue stream over! Did they think the slow collapse of the company in a bad economy was all just a very complex ruse to cut their wages?

Maybe if the execs took a pay cut instead of bonuses the union would be easier to negotiate with. Anyone remember when sony was showing some earnings losses and all the higher ups took a pay cut.

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2012/06/27/sonys-welcome-for-new-ceo-forget-your-bonus-heres-a-pay-cut/

Maybe if more american companies followed suit they'd have better union relationships and stronger companies.

Bakers go on strike... my grandfather loses a job he's been at for almost twenty years as a security guard at a Wonder distribution center. Got to love how things work out.

ouch, talk about a plan that backfires on them (the striking workers I mean). the only good thing I can think of about this is, we finally found something that Twinkies CAN'T survive.

Sounds like the union shot itself in the foot.

Maybe you can get around to making something actually made out of food now, huh America? :D

Have to compliment you on your PERFECT choice of accompanying image!

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

It tools for thee, Twinkie.

Never tasted the stuff. Pretty sure noone sells that kind of stuff in sweden.

At least here in Mexico we'll still have "Los Submarinos"

NOOOOOO! THE MAYANS PREDICTED THIS!

somebody needs to save Twinkies and the donuts!

NO! IS NOT POSSIBLE!

I was counting on Hostess to prevail, at least until society falls in on itself. It was part 7 in my 32 part plan to survive any apocalypse.

L34dP1LL:
At least here in Mexico we'll still have "Los Submarinos"

Yeah, and Choco-roles (Wich apparently are the Ho-Hos equivalents)

I don't think there could've been a better picture for this article. Well played sir.

Poison indeed... I'm glad that these things are about to be relegated to a bygone era.

Here America , try this instead:

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Edited for URL length...

Awww... I like Twinkies!

...What? Can't I like sugary-sweet confections?

Really, I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner. A fairly large company that has declared bankruptcy twice in under a decade? That doesn't bode well for their future, regardless of what a union does or does not do. Hostess would have failed eventually.

As for me, somehow I will survive no longer being able to eat foods I never ate before.

I heard there a large store house in Natick, next to the factory.

They are just going to be under a different brand name in the future, my bets on Little Debbie.

Best conspiracy theory: Obama had his union goons create the strike so there would be less junk food in the country.

Then thing is this. Hostess got out of bankruptcy in 2009, but the people that bought them out had no clue how to run a bakery. Add in the fact that they lost around 1.5 million in October, even if they didn't pay the employees they would have lost money. The company is most likely dead in the water.

As long as they aren't the ones that make Fudge Rounds, I think I'll be fine.

EDIT: Thank God, it's Little Debbie. Crisis averted.

GOOD!!! Me and my bro went to America once, real excited we were to try this famous food stuff known as a Twinkie. Enthusiastically we handed our dole-lars over to the foods merchant and asked for the treat. We eagerly peeled off the wrapper, our mouths a-moist in anticipation... little did our young hearts know. We bit heartily into the small confectionary and were greeted with a taste that can only be described as foul beyond all measure. IT WAS LIKE HOT SICK!!! I WAS BETRAYED, SUCH LIES OF HOW DELICIOUS A AMERICAN STAPLE IT WAS!!!

I had some pretty good chocolate pancakes the next day so I got over it, BUT STILL!!!

Daystar Clarion:
Maybe you can get around to making something actually made out of food now, huh America? :D

no bangers and mash for you..... for the rest of your life.

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well, i never got the chance to eat one. now i may never do. unless...

CardinalPiggles:
Here America , try this instead;

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Oh what company makes that?

Andy Chalk:
...most Hostess brands will be picked up by other manufacturers as soon as they're available.

Life is not over, only Hostess.

I'm going to go out to eat one last Hostess twinkie tonight, but I know that "life's little twinkie gauge" will not go empty... Yet.

I have to kind of laugh at the union workers. I don't want to call them "selfish" but they demanded something from their bosses but their little strike blew up in their faces and they completely lost their jobs. Just a show that it's best to be under-paid and have a job, then go on strike and risk losing your job.

To hell with twinkies. I loved those damned Cupcakes though T-T. Well you are forgetting one thing fellow hostess lovers: The knock-off versions of the hostess products taste almost exactly the same

That is one epic fail on part of the union.

Them feelz for the 18000+ workers effected by this.

Thank-you for that reference in the picture, as Zombieland is pretty much the only reason why I really know anything about Twinkies.
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Tried 'em while I was in the US. It was alright...

CardinalPiggles:
Here America , try this instead;

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Where's the Caramel that's usually draped around it?

You know why this happened? Because rather than raising their prices to keep up with inflation over the past few decades, they started using cheaper and cheaper ingredients, reducing the quality of their products. A twinkie today is simply not as good as a twinkie fifteen years ago. The problem with that is that even though they haven't raised their prices as much as they should've, they're still costier than similar generic products without actually tasting better.

Yeah, I'd sooner spend $5 USD on a box of great twinkies than $1 on a box of crappy knockoffs, but I'd sooner spend $1 on the crappy knockoffs than $2.50 on an equally crappy brand-name product.

P.S. Thanks

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