Hostess officially closes this week as final, last-minute, court-ordered negotiations between the union fighting for workers’ rights and the company seeking to liquidate its assets proved fruitless — and the more than 18,000 workers left jobless after the very public wrangling concluded are less upset by the shake out than you might expect.
As Hostess officially closes, what started as a rant about union greed morphed in part publicly into a lament for decent, mid-wage jobs and the effects of certain business practices on workers. And due to the conditions many Hostess workers reported regarding repeated and devastating pay cuts, many are not mourning the loss of what was once a good job very heavily considering the last offers made by management.
As Hostess closes, the Montreal Gazette spoke to one worker with two decades plus at the brand. And while the Hostess closure left him in an unenviable spot, he still says that the alternative — accepting the far lower-wage job — was far worse:
“‘They’re just taking from us,’ said Kenneth Johnson, 46, of Missouri. He said he earned roughly $35,000 with overtime last year, down from about $45,000 five years ago … ‘I really can’t afford to not be working, but this is not worth it. I’d rather go work somewhere else or draw unemployment,’ said Johnson, a worker at Hostess for 23 years.”
And as Hostess officially closes, 26 year company vet Debi White echoed Johnson’s sentiments, saying:
“They have taken and taken and taken from us … They have been walking around stomping their foot saying either you give in … or else we’re going to close you now.”
“Well, go ahead, we’re tired of their threats. That’s how we feel.”
As Hostess officially closes, are your sympathies with the now-unemployed union workers, or the management that made the decision to close the brand’s operations up?