11/16/2012 05:54 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2012

Union Claims Hostess Executives Received Raises In Advance Of Bankruptcy (CORRECTION)

CORRECTION: An earlier version of as well as an earlier headline of this post incorrectly stated that Greg Rayburn received a 300 percent raise as CEO of Hostess as the company approached bankruptcy. Rayburn wasn't CEO of Hostess until after the company filed for bankruptcy. The post also incorrectly stated that he was paid a salary of up to $2,550,000 per year. His salary when he joined the company was $100,000 per month, according to a company spokesman.

Hostess could have ensured the Twinkie's survival simply by paying the executives less, one of the unions organizing company workers alleges.

Of course, to hear the company tell it, the maker of Wonder Bread and Twinkies simply can’t survive ongoing worker strikes at its plants. The company claims its hand was forced when it only came to an agreement with one of its two unions after several months in negotiations.

The union says there’s another way the Twinkie-maker could have avoided liquidating and laying off all of its 18,500 workers: by paying the executives less money.

Hostess’ creditors accused the company in April of manipulating executive salaries with the aim of getting around bankruptcy compensation rules, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. In response, Rayburn announced he would cut his pay and that of other executives to $1 until Dec. 31 or whenever Hostess came out of bankruptcy.

That was after Hostess had already awarded the company's top four executives raises of between 75 and 80 percent, even though the company had already hired restructuring lawyers, according to the WSJ.

The situation isn't specific to Hostess. Over the last 30 years, CEO pay grew 127 times faster than worker pay, according to a July report.

(Hat tip: ThinkProgress)



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