Workers Wave Hostess Good-Bye

America

A Wonder Bread delivery truck trailer is seen parked outside the bakery plant in New York January 21, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The private equity firm that owns Pabst Brewing Company is weighing an offer to buy Hostess.

Bloomberg reports C. Dean Metropoulos and Company says it's actively pursuing the deal since Hostess announced Friday morning it will liquidate in the face of a week-long strike by its bakers union.

For now, shoppers are snapping up America's most iconic snack foods, including Twinkies and Ding Dongs, in fears they may soon be a thing of the past.

The impact of the decision, though, was immediate for the 700 workers at the company's plant in Emporia.

Supervisors began moving boxes out of the building while workers looked on.

"I felt some relief, knew it was coming. We're ready to move on, understood what the company leadership was trying to do, knew it was coming," one union worker said.

The maker of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Ding Dongs has 33 bakeries and 565 distribution centers nationwide.

About 18,500 people will lose their jobs.

The company filed for bankruptcy in January.

It says the week-long bakers' strikes across the nation broke the camel's back.

"If you think there's something better, you should go find that job," Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn said. "But that doesn't mean you should strike and put 17000 or 18000 other people out of work and their families out of work just because you're unhappy with the terms."

Union workers with Local 218, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers And Grain Millers International Union joined the picket lines early Saturday. They blame the company's failures on mismanagement. Workers grew dissatisfied with forced pay cuts and a freeze on payments into their pension plans.

They say it was only a matter of time before the plant closed.

"Great, it's a new beginning, a new day," another employee outside of the Emporia plant, said. "We hope that it get sold, we get a new buyer. That's what we've been hoping for the whole time, for somebody to come in."

The Center for Union Facts, which has been an outspoken critic of unions says it's never a good thing when a company shuts down.

"There was never a person willing to come in and buy the company in whole and the union knew that from get go," Managing Director J. Justin Wilson, said. "So the idea that somehow they're gonna be better off later, heck, there's a lot of plants that are never gonna reopen," he said.

The local union representative did not return calls for comment.

Hostess is trying to find a buyer for its brands, but for now, whatever products are on the shelves at stores, is what's available until they're all sold out.


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