Hostess is shutting down and asking a federal bankruptcy court for permission to go bye-bye forevermore. They blame a batch of striking bakers who are protesting the new contract imposed upon them by the company. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union represents 5000 Hostess employees, and 18,500 Hostess workers will lose their jobs because of the company shutting down. So, in short, the feud over this contract involves less than half the company, but all of them will be out of work.
But are Hostess Twinkies, Ho-Hos, and CupCakes really gone forever? No, I doubt it very much. Hostess will sell its assets to the highest bidder. That means other companies that produce baked goods may purchase the right to the Twinkie brand name and start making them on their own. It means the factories that used to produce these yummy unhealthy snakes (er… I meant snacks) may soon have a new name over the door. I expect to find X-Brand Twinkies popping up in short order. Who knows, maybe they’ll even figure out a way to make whole-wheat Twinkies, or sugar-free low-carb Twinkies. It could happen! (But don’t hold your breath).
Even if the brands are purchased and manufactured by other companies, the Hostess workers won’t be getting their jobs back. Production at all Hostess factories ended today (Friday Nov 16th 2012). Stores will no longer receive Hostess products.
Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January, its second trip to bankruptcy court since 2004. It previously emerged from restructuring in 2009 after a four-and-a-half year process.
In September, one of its major unions, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, voted narrowly to accept a new contract with reduced wages and benefits. The bakers’ union rejected the deal, however, prompting Hostess management to secure permission from a bankruptcy court to force a new concession contract on workers.
Bottom line: we won’t be seeing Hostess brands in the stores for a while. Of course, if you were stocking up for the 2012 apocalypse, then you probably have plenty of Twinkies already in your larder (given their shelf-life, they’re perfect for you survivalist types). And if you’re a college professor who likes to wipe old-style chalk blackboards with Twinkies, you can probably use the same one you’ve been using for years, but you might want to buy a few spares in case one of your students gets hungry while wiping the board.
I think back to Woody Harrelson’s character “Tallahassee“ in Zombieland and his obsession with Twinkies. They were all he really wanted. The loss of the Twinkie would probably drive him insane. It’s bad enough to live in a world full of zombies, but a world full of zombies without Twinkies would be horrifying.
And what about those carnival vendors who like to deep-fry Twinkies? I guess they’ll have to find other snacks to bread and dunk. Bummer, I never got to try one. I guess I’ll have to settle for a deep-fried Snickers bar.
And check out all these cool science experiments you could have once performed using Twinkies! (The TWINKIES Project). I particularly like the radiation experiment.
So long Twinkies. So long Wonder Bread. I think I’m going to buy a few today and let my kids try them before they’re all gone. At least they’ll know what they were like.