IRVING, Texas (WISH) - Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is going out of business after striking workers - including some in Indianapolis and Columbus - crippled its operations.
On its website, the company said it had filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities. Hostess has declared bankruptcy twice in the past eight years - most recently in January.
Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants, the company said. Delivery of products will continue and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already baked products.
Indianapolis workers had been among those at several facilities who had gone on strike. The company had warned it could not survive a protracted strike and closure and liquidation was likely.
The strike, initiated by one of the largest unions representing its workers, the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International, crippled the company's ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities, the company said.
Monday, the company permanently closed three plants because of the strike. On Wednesday, it gave striking workers an ultimatum: Return to work by 5 p.m. Thursday, or we're closing. The company said on its website that by Thursday night, not enough workers had returned to their jobs to keep restore normal operations.
The company said it can't make a profit under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs.
A spokesman for the union, however, told 24-Hour News 8 that it wasn't willing to give in to the drastic cuts wanted by the company because they would hurt workers too much.
The company and the union were at odds over salary, pension and healthcare cuts.
"They're asking for 27 percent wage reduction over five years," Bakery and Confectionery Union representative Dennis Howard said. "They're asking for them to almost triple contributions to the healthcare plan, and a plan that is substandard and doesn't have the coverage that they've enjoyed."
It was just too much, one local worker said.
"There's no way a person can survive off those wages with high cost of insurance. It's about wages, pension, and insurance," said John Smith, a 22-year Hostess worker.
The closures will affect 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, about 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlets throughout the U.S. The company offered a website for more information for employees who will now lose their jobs, along with customers and vendors: www.hostessbrands.info .
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