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Hostess Twinkies
How many beloved American brands have private equity firms completely trashed? Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers union members at Hostess have rejected the company's "last, best, and final" contract offer with a 92 percent vote. Union President Frank Hurt says:
“Our members have seen this company squander more than $50 million that it was contractually obligated to put towards our members’ pension.  They have seen the company fail to invest in product development and new plant and equipment as was promised when the company emerged from its previous bankruptcy and for which our members made significant concessions.

“Our members have seen this company attempt to give millions of dollars in unseemly and unjustified bonuses to managers and supervisors in the midst of this bankruptcy.  They have seen this company go through numerous CEO’s in the last seven years with not one of them having had any significant experience in the wholesale bread and cake baking business.

“Our members reviewed the analysis of this company’s business plan provided by a highly-respected financial analyst retained by the company which showed that the plan has little or no chance of succeeding in saving the business but would provide the investors with a windfall.

“Our members know that this is a company that is controlled by Wall Street private equity and hedge fund firms, whose sole objective is to maximize their own returns, not rebuild a company for the long haul.”

It's not just Hostess. Mitt Romney's now-infamous secret video was filmed at a fundraiser held by private equity manager Marc Leder, who trashed Friendly's.

A fair day's wage

  • Oh, Walmart. You suck so much in so many ways. Gawker's Hamilton Nolan has a farewell letter from a now-former Walmart employee and oh boy:
    If you're ever in our store when the late night bi-weekly cleaning of the meat department cases takes place you'll learn first hand what a rotting corpse probably smells should be done more often but no one wants to do it and the managers don't really give a shit to enforce it...this filthy cesspole catch basin of liquid blood scum is lurking about six inches below that package of hamburger meat you're about to buy, Mr and Mrs. Customer. Bon Appetit!!
  • Warehouse workers in Illinois have joined the workers in California striking against Walmart-contracted warehouses.
  • Outsourcing in the fields is screwing farm workers the same ways it screws so many other workers: wage theft, lack of accountability, labor law abuses.

State and local legislation

  • Orange County, Florida, judges ruled Monday that a paid sick leave initiative should get a vote. But the judges also gave the county long enough to respond that the deadline for getting the initiative on the ballot could have passed. That deadline is today. If the county does not act and put the question on November's ballot, there's a chance the judges would order a special election. Predictably, businesses are insisting their very survival and ability to create jobs hinges on being able to make workers come to work to sneeze all over customers and their food.

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