I have watched the Vermont Bread/ Koffee Kup story unfold in as detached a manner as I can, having been a one-time production worker there, and an enthusiastic fan and customer of their bread.
However, anybody who’s politically aware of the plight of workers everywhere already knew how the plot would unfold. It’s no surprise at all how predictably poor these employees were treated from the very moment that private equity thieves arrived on the scene. And it’s sad to see how the justice system (anti-worker by design in even a liberal state like Vermont) has thus far failed to protect them and their jobs.
Yes, it’s late-stage capitalism: Just a couple years ago there were two industrial bakeries in Brattleboro, employing a couple of hundred people. And now there are none!
Why? This self-destructive system ensures that anybody with a meaningful, productive job at a small, local manufacturer has to fear that some well-heeled predators will take it all away. Vermont Bread was basically profitable, running 24/7, and just needed some investment, like any enterprise needs in order to compete. In April, our community stood helpless while the initial receivers locked workers out, and then attempted to rob them of money they’d already earned.
Don’t believe for a moment that Flowers group, small-time corporate raiders that they are, intends to do anything but strip Vermont Bread of all but it’s name “brand” and run with the money.