Cherish those packages of Twinkies and Ding Dongs. A threatened strike by most of the more than 18,000 workers at Hostess Brands could spell the end of some of the most cherished snacks around.
Hostess, also the maker of Wonder Bread, Nature’s Pride Bread and an array of other baked products, wants to be able to ditch the company’s labor agreements with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers to cut costs. If it can’t, the company is telling a bankruptcy court judge in White Plains, N.Y., this week that it won’t have the cash to keep operating.
“All Hostess Brands operations would shut down and liquidation would begin,” the company said in a letter to employees obtained by CNN Money. “The 18,500 jobs, plus the health insurance that comes with them, would be lost for good.”
The union says it’s willing to work with management to bring down costs but has rejected Hostess’ efforts to change how union pensions are funded, CNN reported. The company also wants work rule changes to lower costs and outsourcing some delivery work.
The Associated Press reported the union has offered $150 million in concessions a year, including the suspension of pension contributions until next summer.
It’s uncertain how the judge will rule, but the Teamsters said 91 percent of members have already voted in favor of a strike if things go the company’s way – even if a strike drives Hostess out of business.