Matsushita Electric (owner of the Panasonic brand) was losing out on its export marked to up and coming better quality brands like Sony and JVC. Secondary markets like Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan weren't likely to be customers either.
What to do? They could lay off their workforce or pay them partially in electronics. They discussed it with them and, of course, the workers opted for partial payment in electronics rather than play the lay-off lottery.
Next thing you know, Matsushita workers were bartering radios to their green grocer, televisions to their landlord and the like. Rather than lose business, most of them struck some sort of deal.
Not only were painful lay-offs avoided, but Matsushita grabbed market share and picked up sales in things like accessories and upgrades.
The recession ended with a whimper and Japan launched into one of its greatest periods of economic growth. All because the workers in one large company chose flexibility over unionism.
I think comparing Matsushita and Hostess is like comparing apples and oranges. I mean their circumstances could be similar but I can’t tell from the information you provided.