The news of Hostess’ impending shutdown in the wake of crippling union strikes has struck a chord with many Americans who can’t help but feel a connection with the iconic American dessert.

On Twitter, 140 character lamentations were posted from around the country causing the words “Hostess” and “Twinkies” to intermittently trend nationwide over the last 24 hours.

Coupled with the sadness at the loss of the uniquely American creation was criticism of the union that went on the strike which ultimately led management to shut down operations. We reported here yesterday that the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) has denied responsibility, instead insisting that management’s rigid refusal to work with the union led to the shutdown.

“The truth is that Hostess workers and their Union have absolutely no responsibility for the failure of this company. That responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the company’s decision makers,” Frank Hurt, BCTGM International Union President, said in a separate statement released on Wednesday.

Recent revelations have called this assertion into question.

The shutdown of Hostess probably can be blamed, at least in part, on both sides of the picket line. Hostess has been trying to reorganize and emerge from bankruptcy court for a number of years which has caused them to institute less than popular policies with its employees.

However, a new statement released by the Teamster’s Union, which also had thousands of members employed by Hostess, suggests that BCTGM likely dealt the death blow to their own jobs, as well as the jobs of thousands of Teamsters. (h/t HotAir) [Emphasis mine]

In fact, when Hostess attempted to throw out its collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters in court, the Teamsters fought back and won, ensuring that Hostess could not unilaterally make changes to working conditions during the several months’ long legal process that recently ended. Teamster Hostess members were allowed to decide their fate by voting on the final offer conducted by a secret mail ballot. More than two-thirds of Hostess Teamsters members voted with 53 percent voting to approve the final offer.

The BCTGM chose a different path, as is their prerogative, to not substantively look for a solution or engage in the process. BCTGM members were told there were better solutions than the final offer, although Judge Drain stated in his decision in bankruptcy court that no such solutions exist. Without complete information, BCTGM members voted by voice votes in union halls. The BCTGM reported that over 90 percent rejected the final offer and three of its units ratified the final offer.

On Friday, Nov. 9, the BCTGM began to strike at some Hostess production facilities without notice to the Teamsters despite assurances they would not proceed with job actions without contacting the Teamsters Union. This unannounced action put Teamster members in the difficult position of facing picket lines without knowing their right to honor such a line without being disciplined.

As is our longstanding tradition, Teamster members by and large are honoring Bakery Worker picket lines when encountered and complying with their contractual obligations when not encountering picket lines. The BCTGM leaders are putting Teamster members in a horrible position – asking them to support a strike that will put them out of a job when they haven’t even asked all their members to go on strike.

It appears the unilateral decision by BCTGM to strike has not only left their members without a job, but thousands of other union and non-union members across the country as well.

For more information on this story, see HotAir, which has done a great job getting background information and developing a more complete timeline of events.

 
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