The maker of Wonder Bread, Ding Dongs and Twinkies, the ubiquitous baked snack famed for never getting stale, asked a federal court Friday for permission to sell off its assets and permanently close operations after the company was hit by a national strike that began earlier this month.
The decision by Irving, Texas-based Hostess Brands Inc. to sell off its assets followed a strike by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union on Nov. 9. “We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, the Company’s Chairman and CEO. Hostess, best known for its Twinkies cakes, of which it makes about 500,000 each year, aims to begin closing down its operations on Tuesday. Those operations employ about 17,780 people in 33 bakeries and 570 bakery outlets across the U.S. The union early Friday blasted company owners for the actions. "The strike at Hostess Brands is an inspiration for all workers fighting against corporate owners keen on looting companies and workers for their own enrichment," the union said in a statement. "Hostess workers and the (union) 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." Hostess Brands on Oct. 3 gained court permission to unilaterally impose changes to the union's collective bargaining agreements, which the company said included wage and pension benefits that made profitability impossible. That action sparked the strike earlier this month. Along with imposing wage and pension concessions, the company gave its 12 unions a 25 percent stake in the company and representation on the board.