INDIANAPOLIS -- Hostess Brands, maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and
Wonder Bread said Friday that it has filed a motion in Bankruptcy Court
seeking permission to close and sell its assets, including its iconic
The company says it has suspended bakery operations, but
deliveries will continue and Hostess retail stores will stay open to
sell products already in the pipeline.
Hostess workers remained on
picket lines across the country Thursday night, refusing a company
ultimatum to return to work or face the liquidation of the national
The company had warned it would file a motion in U.S.
Bankruptcy Court to shut operations if enough workers didn't end their
weeklong strike by 5 p.m. ET Thursday.
A shutdown would result in the loss of about 18,000 jobs.
READ: Hostess' press release
held Hostess filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, its second
trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade. The company cited
increasing pension and medical costs for employees as one of the drivers
behind its latest filing. Hostess contends workers must make
concessions for it to exit bankruptcy and improve its financial
The company, founded in 1930, is fighting battles beyond
labor costs, however. Competition is increasing in the snack market,
while Americans are increasingly conscious about healthful eating.
Hostess also makes Dolly Madison, Drake's and Nature's Pride snacks.
Teamsters union is urging the bakers union to hold a secret ballot on
whether to continue striking. Citing its financial experts who had
access to the company's books, the Teamsters say that Hostess' warning
of liquidation is "not an empty threat or a negotiating tactic" but a
certain outcome if workers keep striking.
Hostess, based in
Irving, Texas, already has reached a contract agreement while in
bankruptcy with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of
Teamsters. But thousands of members in its second biggest union went on
strike late last week after rejecting a contract offer that cut wages
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain
Millers International Union said the company stopped contributing to
workers' pensions last year, and the union wants pension benefits
Production at about a dozen of the company's 33 plants
has been seriously affected by the strike, said Lance Ignon, a Hostess
"Do it, shut it down," a woman yelled at 5 p.m. Thursday from the picket line formed at the company's Indianapolis plant.
many as 45 people in the picket line chanted, "No pension, no deal," as
they walked a tight circle in the growing cold and gathering darkness.
Their picketing drew frequent supportive honks from passing drivers.
Hollingsworth, business agent for Local 372-B of the bakers union, said
union members took wage and benefit concessions four years ago and are
unwilling to accept further wage cuts and reductions in health and
pension benefits sought by the company. "It's just too much for these
employees to accept. We gave concessions four years ago."
Smith, a wrapper operator at the plant who has worked for Hostess for 22
years, said he's at peace with his decision to join the strikers. "You
have to take a stand for what you believe in. They gave us a
take-it-or-leave-it deal. We can't take the financial abuse."
warmly dressed in coveralls and a hooded sweatshirt, said union members
would man the picket line outside the plant round-the-clock. Workers
erected a tent and were burning wood fires in two grills to help stay
Several private security officers watched the strikers from
the gate of the plant, which normally runs its ovens 24 hours a day
turning out bread, buns, mini-doughnuts and muffins.
The union business agent said he'd prefer to see Hostess sold.
definitely got to be better than what this company's trying to
implement. There are other bakeries out there looking to purchase some
of these locations. These employees have the opportunity to go back in
(under a new owner)."