Monday, November 12, 2012

[olympiaworkers] Hostess closing Seattle bakery following strike

Mon, 11/12/2012

Hostess Brands Inc. is permanently closing three bakeries following a
nationwide strike by its bakers union.

The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread said Monday that the
strike has prevented it from producing and delivering products, and it is
closing bakeries in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati. The facilities
employ 627 workers.

Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, operates 36 bakeries nationwide and has
about 18,300 employees. It warned earlier this month that the strike, by
about 30 percent of its workforce, could lead to bakery closures.

"We deeply regret this decision, but we have repeatedly explained that we
will close facilities that are no longer able to produce and deliver
products because of a work stoppage - and that we will close the entire
company if widespread strikes cripple our business," Hostess Brands CEO
Gregory F. Rayburn said.

Hostess said customers will not be affected by the closures.

A representative for the union could not be reached immediately for
comment Monday.

Thousands of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and
Grain Millers International Union went on strike Nov. 9 to protest cuts to
wages and benefits under a new contract offer, which the union rejected in
September. Union officials say the company stopped contributing to
workers' pensions last year.

Hostess has argued that workers must make concessions as it tries to
improve its financial position. The privately-held food maker filed for
Chapter 11 protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court
in less than a decade. Hostess cited increasing pension and medical costs
for employees as one of the drivers behind its latest filing.

The company, founded in 1930, is fighting battles beyond labor costs,
however. Competition is increasing in the snack space and Americans are
increasingly conscious about healthy eating.

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