The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Monday blasted defunct Twinkie manufacturer Hostess Brands, Inc., for “unreasonably delaying providing the [Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International] Union with other requested information” and ordered the company to post signs admitting its bad-faith bargaining in its Biddeford, Maine offices.
It is unclear who will seen the signs.
“It doesn’t sound like it hurts Hostess because no one works in that factory anymore,” said Jim Anderson, the financial secretary for the BCTGM Local 334, the union that brought the suit. “It’s too little, too late for our members, but nothing surprises me about the NLRB; we haven’t had much success getting through to them.”
The plant at the center of the NLRB hearing closed weeks ago, leaving 500 workers, including 315 union members, out of work.
“Hostess brands has closed all of its bakeries and ceased operations. If you are an employee, please do not come to work,” a message at the Maine plant’s call center said.
Hostess had been involved in a lengthy battle with the bakers union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters over wage and pension cuts it said were needed to address a $1 billion debt.
The Teamsters accepted the terms but the bakers union rejected the contract and the company shuttered on Nov. 16. More than 18,000 workers were left unemployed.
Anderson avoided those layoffs when he quit his job at the Biddeford plant over the summer. He has moved on from making Ding Dongs and Ho Hos to producing baked beans at a nearby factory.
“I never thought I’d have to work for another company. It’s the sad road that’s coming to this country,” he said. “There’s an idle plant in Biddeford Maine now and we’re hoping someone will fill it.”
Hostess, which did not challenge the NLRB suit, said it will post the signs as ordered.
“We have reviewed the ruling and have begun the process of complying with the NLRB's direction,” Hostess spokesman Erik Halvorson said.