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Hostess says liquidation decision expected Friday

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Hostess Brands said it likely won't make an announcement until Friday morning on whether it will move to liquidate its business, after the company had set a Thursday deadline for striking employees to return to work.

The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread had warned employees that would file a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to unwind its business and sell off assets if plant operations didn't return to normal levels by 5 p.m. Thursday. That would result in the loss of about 18,000 jobs, including hundreds in Indiana.

A spokesman for Hostess, Lance Ignon, said the company would likely make an announcement Friday after assessing plant operations Thursday evening.

Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, has already reached a contract agreement 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 in September a contract offer that cut wages and benefits. Officials for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union say the company stopped contributing to workers' pensions last year.

The BCTGM unions’s 436 members who work at Hostess’ Indianapolis and Columbus plants joined in nationwide pickets that began Nov. 9.

The company employs 288 in Indianapolis, 212 of them BCTGM members.

In an interview with Fox Business, Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn said many workers have already crossed picket lines this week to go back to work despite warnings by union leadership that they'd be fined.

"The problem is we don't have enough crossing those lines to maintain normal production," said Rayburn, who first joined Hostess earlier this year as a restructuring expert.

Hostess says that production at about a dozen of the company's 33 plants has been seriously affected by the strike. Three plants were closed earlier this week.

A representative for the bakery-workers union did not respond to request for comment. The Teamsters meanwhile are urging the smaller 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 continue striking.

The Teamsters also noted that the strike put its union members in the "horrible position" of deciding whether to cross picket lines.

Hostess, a privately held company, 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 has argued that workers must make concessions for it to exit bankruptcy and improve its financial position.

The company, founded in 1930, is fighting battles beyond labor costs, however. Competition is increasing in the snack space and Americans are increasingly conscious about healthy eating. Hostess also makes Dolly Madison, Drake's and Nature's Pride snacks.

Hostess said it would file the motion to liquidate Friday if needed, with a hearing scheduled for Monday. If the motion is granted, Hostess would begin closing operations as early as Tuesday.

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  • Idea
    I dont see why Hostess doesnt just rehire a bunch of people..Plenty of people will take the jobs at 11 an hour because it sure beats nothing they are making now. Great thing about being an at-will state..company can fire you for any reason that is not protected by law... in other words they can fire you just because they want to.
  • hostess
    heard one guy on strike say he was living on 16 an hour and just couldn't make it on 11. now he has to make it on 0 or 300 a week unemployment.not sure if you can get that when you chose to strike and stop work....

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

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