First Person: Unions Didn’t Kill Twinkies, but Ding Dongs Did

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COMMENTARY | As a person who prefers health food to junk food, I can't say I'm terribly upset about the demise of the Hostess Twinkies and Ding Dongs. My motto is nothing good can come out of eating sugar. But that aside, I have heard a lot of propaganda about how the union is to blame for destroying these iconic brands. I wholeheartedly disagree. I was quite interested to read a recent article in The New Yorker that points out that the market has changed. Perhaps the real "ding dongs" are the company executives who didn't tap into the growing market for organic and wholesome foods. According to the article, management did make several failed attempts to come up with healthier products, but I think many makers of junk food have a different definition of what's healthy.

Growing up with Twinkies

I was a child in the 1980s when Twinkies and Ding Dongs were in its heyday. I remember wanting to have such a treat in my Smurfs lunchbox, but I only got to have the Twinkies on special occasions such as field trip days. At home, we still baked our own cakes, cookies and breads. Back then eating Twinkies was a form of rebellion that seemed a sort of solidarity with the Women's Liberation Movement. Now, we realize that "Women's Lib" was all a sham so that the government would have a broader tax base. They could not tax both men and women. And, people would be more likely to buy processed foods since they were too busy working to make everything from scratch. Now when I cook at home it's not just to save money, but to be able to control the ingredients and prepare healthier meals for my family.

Cutting wages and benefits

According to The New Yorker, Hostess went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in eight years in January. They wanted to be able to cut wages and benefits. Fortunately, their employees belonged to the bakers' union. They had the freedom to go on strike to protest a cut of between 27 and 32 percent. I personally think it's ridiculous to blame the problem on so-called "greedy workers." Most of these people are just looking for a livable wage to support their families. They shouldn't have to settle for lower and lower wages. The reason we still have unions in this country is because some capitalists are greedy and need to be kept in check.

Instead of wasting their money fighting against the tide, food manufacturing companies should get on the non-GMO, organic and clean eating food movement. Stop putting artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners into food products. Those of us who invest in the stock market couldn't help but notice when the initial public offering for Annie's popped. Annie's is a natural and organic food company that provides the solution for working men and women who want organic and healthier alternatives to nutrient-free foods. Maybe it's not as ideal as homegrown organic vegetables, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

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