Hostess CEO gives striking workers Thursday deadline
By Chris Durden
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
8:30 PM CST, November 14, 2012
Hostess Brands CEO said Wednesday the company will liquidate unless striking workers return to the job by the end of the day on Thursday.
"We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike," Gregory Rayburn said in a statement.
Workers are protesting a contract imposed by a bankruptcy court. The bakers union has called the contract "outrageous."
A liquidation would result in more than 18,000 workers losing their jobs.
Over the weekend, workers in the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, or BCTGM, went on strike at Hostess-owned plants in several states. The strike includes workers at the Dolly Madison plant in Emporia.
Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January, the second time it has done so since 2004.
Union employees in Emporia say in August of last year the company stopped giving them their pension earning. They say it now wants to cut wages by eight percent.
"You put in the time, you put in the years, I mean, we all have dedicated our lives to the company and they just don't appreciate it," said one striking worker.
Steven Blakey says he he was looking forward to retiring from the company. He says what's going on now hurts not just him, but his family as well.
"I spent 30 years of my life, missed a lot of time with my family, now it's time for me to enjoy that time and I have to keep working, I'm missing out on a lot." said Blakey.
The Dolly Madison plant in Emporia is one of the city's largest employers.
Tuesday, Hostess said it will permanently close bakeries in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati. Those three plants employ 627 people combined. The strike is impacting 24 of Hostess' 33 plants.
Copyright © 2012, KWCH-TV
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