The beloved snack company that produces Ho Hos and Twinkies has warned that the current labor strike may force the company to close its doors after nearly 100 years of operation.
“We’ve been very straightforward that the business can’t withstand the significant work stoppage,” Hostess CEO Grey Rayburn said of the strike. “If this strike continues, there is certainly a risk that Hostess will go out of business.”
The company has already shut down three bakeries, in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati, as a result of the strikes. All 627 workers at these plants will lose their jobs.
The strikers, organized by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union, are 5,680 members strong, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the company’s total work force. They have been engaged in a bitter battle for ten months while the company has tried to renegotiate labor contracts as a part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A contract with longer work days and lessened health benefits was offered to the union last week, and was rejected, prompting a walk out and picket line strikes.
“Hostess Brands is making a mockery of the labor relations system that has been in place for nearly 100 years,” Frank Hurt, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) said. “Our members are not just striking for themselves, but for all unionized workers across North America who are covered by collective bargaining agreements.”
The union contends that their proposals will bring workers back to workplace standards of the 1950s.
“Our members have now said NO to Hostess and the Wall Street investors in the only means available to them, the strike. [We] stand in full and uncompromising support of our striking members.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the bakers union has made no “specific demands of Hostess and that the two parties aren’t engaged in negotiations.”
Hostess, which is owned by a hedge fund, has struggled with bankruptcy twice in the last eight years. The company has been fighting to maintain market share as mothers turn away from high-carb, sugary snacks in favor of healthier options.
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