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Hostess Brands strike prompts three bakery closures; 627 jobs cut

By Kacey Culliney , 12-Nov-2012
Last updated on 13-Nov-2012 at 13:34 GMT2012-11-13T13:34:27Z

Hostess Brands has permanently shut down three bakeries today as a result of nationwide union strikes; equating to 627 job losses.

The bakeries to be closed are located in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati.

Strikes commenced last Friday and have strengthened over the weekend and today. Employees involved are members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) who are revolting against a pay-cutting deal enforced upon them as Hostess attempts to get out of bankruptcy.

“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,” Gregory Rayburn, company CEO, said today.

Employees under misimpression

“Some employees are apparently under the misimpression that if they force Hostess to liquidate, another company will buy our bakeries and offer them employment… The fact is, the bakery industry already has far too much capacity, and there is a strong risk that many of our facilities may never operate as bakeries again once they are closed,” Rayburn said.

“I believe the leadership of the Bakers Union (BCTGM) knows this fact, but is willing to sacrifice its Hostess employees for the sake of preventing other bakery companies from asking for similar concessions.”

Job losses to those still working

Of the 18,300 Hostess employees, just one-third are members of the workers union BCTGM.

The CEO said that other employees who have now lost jobs are paying a “terrible price” for strikes that they did not ask for.

The Twinkies-maker had issued a warning statement on Friday 9 when the strikes initially started. It warned that widespread strikes would cripple the business and lead to permanent closures.

Hostess spokesperson Erik Halvorson, had told BakeryandSnacks.com that a decision on plant closures would be forced upon them.  See HERE  for the full story on the strike.

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