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Latest News - September 2012

September 14, 2012
Source: St. Louis Today
By: Steve Giegerich

Bankrupt maker of Twinkies and Hostess seeks to restructure union contracts

A do-or-die ballot to accept the wage and benefit concessions was narrowly approved Friday by union drivers for Hostess Brands, the bankrupt maker of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and other baked goods.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced Friday that members employed by the Texas-based bakery voted 2,347-2,043 to accept the terms of a restructured contract that calls for salary reductions of up to eight percent.

"This was a difficult decision," Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall said in a prepared statement.

"Our members are frustrated at being in the position to bail out the company again, but overall were willing to accept modifications with the hope that Hostess will recover and be in a better position in the years to come. At the end of the day, our members recognized that they can't replace their pay and benefits in the non-union sector."

The Hostess bakery in St. Louis employs about 170 union drivers.

Hostess officials fear the bankrupt company will be forced to liquidate its assets if the two major unions representing its workers fail to approve the concessions.

The corporation's future is now contingent on the outcome of balloting by 5,000 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union.

The outcome of that vote is expected next week.

Hostess officials however viewed the Teamsters' vote as a major step toward saving the corporation.

“We are very grateful to the IBT-represented employees for ratifying our final offer,” Hostess Brands Chief Executive Officer Gregory F. Rayburn said in a statement. “We know it was a difficult decision for them, but one that we believe is in the long-term best interests of the entire Company and its 18,500 employees.”

The agreement approved by the Teamsters provides the unionized workers with a 25 percent of the company.

This year marks the second time since 2008 that Hostess employees have seen wages and benefits slashed because of management decisions forcing the company into bankruptcy.



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