Even a union boss has a boss, which is the situation Bob Ryder found himself in during the toe-to-toe standoff at Hostess Brands Inc -- maker of Wonder Bread and Twinkies.
The long-troubled company, which operates bakeries around the country and a plant in Northeast Philadelphia, threatened that it would shut its business if plant operations didn't return to normal by Thursday, putting 18,000 out of work. In the throes of bankruptcy, Hostess Brands Inc. asked for major concessions from its two major unions -- the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers.
The Teamsters sent ballots to the homes of its members, who narrowly approved the concessions. The Bakers held their election in the union halls and the concessions were defeated. The Bakers went on strike and the Teamsters were put in the position of having to cross a picket line.
"My people never crossed a picket line in their lives," said Ryder, who heads Teamsters Local 463. He represents 130 drivers, packing workers and mechanics at the Northeast Philadelphia plant.