The deadline Hostess set for striking union employees to return to work passed at 5 p.m. EST Thursday, and Hostess says an announcement about liquidation is expected on Friday.
On Wednesday, Hostess gave an ultimatum to the nearly 6,000 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, who went on strike last Friday after rejecting a contract that cuts their pay and benefits, to return to work by Thursday. If by 5 p.m. EST the striking workers did not return, Hostess said it would be forced to liquidate, which would lead to the loss of 18,000 jobs.
In January, Hostess filed for bankruptcy.
According to The Associated Press, the time has come and gone and there is no news on whether Hostess will file the request to liquidate. Instead, Hostess spokesman Lance Ignon said an announcement would be forthcoming Friday. Ignon said the Irving, Texas-based company had to evaluate its plants, bakeries and other operations before making a decision to go forward with liquidation.
While there have been some employees have crossed picket lines, not enough have done so for Hostess to keep the doors open. Earlier in the week, Hostess closed three bakeries.
The union and its president, Frank Hurt, have made no statement about the deadline or Hostess' threat to liquidate, the AP reports. But the Teamsters, who represent more Hostess workers than the bakery union, are backing their labor brethren.
Earlier in the year, the Teamsters, accepted a new contract that cuts pay and benefits. According to the AP, the Teamsters believe the striking employees should conduct a secret vote on continuing the strike.
Earlier Thursday, the Teamsters issued a statement on their website blaming Hostess for the current state of affairs. It said, “Hostess workers and the BCTGM have been working for decades to build a decent standard of living for themselves and their families while ensuring that quality products leave the production lines. The current ownership has proven its contempt for the Hostess brand, its products, those who produce them and their consumers. After saying no to false promises, the workers are standing up to the corporate bullies and their threats and coercion.”