Hostess closes shop PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 16 November 2012 12:07
Employees at the Hostess plant in Northwood, are seen striking outside of the plant, are part of a nationwide strike of Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union employed by Hostess. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
NORTHWOOD - Hostess Brands, famed creator of the Twinkie and owner of Wonder Bread and Nature's Pride, is going out of business - and the announcement earlier this morning has local implications.
Workers represented by Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union Local 19 employed at a Hostess plant located on Wales Road in Northwood are now out of jobs.
More than 158 workers were employed at the plant.
Hostess, headquartered in Irving, Texas, has been in difficult financial straits for the past decade and, according to the Associated Press, went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. Workers went on strike after rejecting a September contract offer from the company.
It employed more than 18,500 workers at its 33 plants in the United States.
A nationwide workers strike had been ongoing for the better part of a week, and the company threatened to shut its doors if workers did not return to work by Thursday night.
According to the BCTGM's website, members of Local 19 went on strike at the Northwood plant on Nov. 9 as of 8 p.m.
Hostess Spokesman Erik Halvorson said in an interview this morning that workers at the Northwood plant "primarily make Butternut Bread, Nature's Pride Bread, and Wonder Bread" products.
He indicated that the company's plants would be closed "very quickly. We filed our motion with the court this morning. And we've requested a hearing on Monday, which is when we believe it will take place. We expect the judge will move that very day on Monday, things will move very quickly."
"This is difficult, certainly for me and for the 18,500 families that are going to be affected around the country," Halvorson continued. "It's always rough to lose your job. It's a terrible time right now, before the holidays just makes it worse. Unfortunately this liquidation was the result of a strike of the minority of employees."
"It's just really tough to see them lose their jobs."
A message left with officials for Local 19, headquartered in Cleveland, was not immediately returned this morning, and an operator indicated that they were out with striking workers.
A Nov. 15 statement on the BCTGM's national website, issued by Union President Frank Hurt, stated that "the crisis facing Hostess Brands is the result of nearly a decade of financial and operational mismanagement that resulted in two bankruptcies, mountains of debt, declining sales, and lost market share."
"They sought to force the workers, who had already taken significant wage and benefit cuts, to absorb even greater cuts including the loss of their pension contributions," the statement said later.
Hostess plans to sell off its brands, and will keep its stores open for the time being to sell already-baked products.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012 14:53

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