A union has forced an iconic American junk comfort food out of business and left more than 18,000 workers jobless after a prolonged labor dispute.
Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies, Ho Ho’s, coffee cakes, and Wonder Bread, officially went out of business on Friday after members of the bakers’ union refused to return to work on Thursday.
"We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," Hostess CEO Gregory F. Rayburn said in announcing that the firm had filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to shutter its business. "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."
Hostess Brands Inc. had earlier warned employees that it would file to unwind its business and sell off assets if plant operations didn't return to normal levels by 5 p.m. Thursday. In announcing its decision, Hostess said its wind down would mean the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores in the United States.
The company, which in 2012 declared bankruptcy for the second time in the past ten years, had hoped to remain open despite crippling labor costs.
Hostess reached an agreement that included reduced wages and benefits with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union earlier in the year. But members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union refused the deal, forcing the company to suspend operations before going out of business completely on Friday.
The company will leave several distribution centers open in order to sell out inventory, giving consumers a few more weeks to enjoy the treats of their childhood.