More than 18,000 workers threaten to strike at Hostess Brands, the maker of abominations such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, which could finally put an end to some of the most unhealthy snacks on the planet.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, together represent more than three-quarters of the 18,500 workers at the company.
According to CNN, Hostess Brands is asking the bankruptcy court to tear up labor agreements, which would allow Hostess to change how it funds union pensions.
The Teamsters have vowed to strike if the judge agrees with management’s request and dumps the labor deals. The union says it’s willing to work with management to reduce costs but has rejected Hostess’ efforts to change how union pensions are funded, CNN reported.
The company also wants work rule changes to lower costs and outsourcing some delivery work. CNN claims both management and the unions agree that the company is unlikely to survive a strike.
“We would no longer have cash to keep operating,” said Hostess management in a letter sent to employees on Monday. “All Hostess Brands operations would shut down and liquidation would begin. The 18,500 jobs, plus the health insurance that comes with them, would be lost for good.”
Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn, told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain that the company can’t afford to pay the pensions for its workers as they currently stand.
“Executives lie and claim labor costs are to blame,” said the Teamsters’ general secretary-treasurer Ken Hall, in a statement. “But it is incompetence and greed, pure and simple, that have put this iconic company in the position it is in today.”
CNN claims Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January, it’s second bankruptcy since 2004. And management has said that the investors who are financing the company during bankruptcy would pull out if there is a strike.
Hostess was founded as Interstate Bakeries in 1930, but some of its best-known products, such as Wonder Bread is 90 years old and Drake’s cakes have been produced since 1888. The company was renamed Hostess Brands as it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
The judge’s ruling on the issue has been delayed until May 1.