Home » Largest Union Strikes Hostess Brands
Largest Union Strikes Hostess Brands
Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), the largest union at Hostess Brands, went on strike against the national baker beginning Nov. 9. The union said workers at other Hostess plant locations are honoring picket lines established by striking local unions. More plants may strike or honor the strike in other Hostess locations within the coming days.
“These workers, many of whom have worked at Hostess and its predecessor companies for decades, struck in response to the company's unilateral imposition of a horrendous contract that was rejected by 92 percent of the [BCTGM] union's Hostess members in September,” said a union statement.
In filing its second bankruptcy reorganization plan in recent years, Hostess asked its unions to vote to accept the cuts management said were required to avoid liquidation. But when the BCTGM refused, Hostess got the bankruptcy court last month to force the concessions on it and all unions.
"Hostess Brands is making a mockery of the labor relations system that has been in place for nearly 100 years. Our members are not just striking for themselves, but for all unionized workers across North America who are covered by collective bargaining agreements," said BCTGM International President Frank Hurt.
The contract calls for wage and benefit cuts that amount to 27-32 percent overall, with an 8 percent wage reduction imposed immediately, the union said. The company unilaterally ceased making contributions, required by their union contracts, to the workers' pensions in July 2011. Hostess has also cut health benefits and “eliminated the eight-hour workday.”
Hostess Brands is in bankruptcy for the second time in eight years. “Since the first bankruptcy in 2004, BCTGM members across the country have taken dramatic wage and benefit concessions and watched as 21 Hostess plants were shut down and thousands of jobs lost,” the union said. “At the time of the first bankruptcy, Hostess workers were assured by management that money saved via concessions or plant closings would help make the company stronger, more vibrant, and more competitive.
“Instead, helpless Hostess employees watched as money that was supposed to go toward capital investment, product development, plant improvement and new equipment went to executive bonuses and payouts to the hedge funds that own Hostess Brands. They watched as the company illegally withdrew from all Taft-Hartley pension plans, saving more than $50 million in the first five months. The BCTGM learned that the then-Hostess CEO was to be awarded a 300 percent raise, and at least nine other top executives were to receive raises ranging 35-80 percent.”
The union announcement said members fear the investment firms currently owning Hostess will liquidate the company. “The current CEO, Greg Rayburn, was originally brought on as a consultant because of his expertise in corporate liquidations. He has absolutely no experience running a baking company and the Wall Street investors that own the company have absolutely no interest of rebuilding the baking business,” the union said.
By late Nov. 9, there was no comment from the company on the Hostess web site.
See this timeline of events as reported on FoodProcessing.com:
- Hostess Files For Chapter 11 Again (01/12/2012)
- Hostess Files Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan (10/11/2012)
- Struck Hostess Brands to Liquidate (11/16/2012)
- Hostess, Union To Try Mediation (11/20/2012)
- Hostess Back to Liquidation (11/21/2012)
- Flowers Offers 'Stalking Horse' Bid For Hostess Bread Brands (01/15/2013)
- Hostess Selects Four 'Stalking Horse' Bidders For Assets (02/08/2013)
- All Hostess Assets Sold Off (04/04/2013)
PepsiCo Stock Hits 32-Year High, but Why?
Decent first quarter but also investment firms buys a big stake.
Happy Family Bought by Groupe Danone
Dannon parent acquires 92 percent of seven-year-old toddler food company.
Anuga 2013: A Taste of Global Innovations Set to Take Place October 5-9
The huge global food show will be October 5-9 in Cologne, Germany.
Vermont Passes Genetic Labeling Bill
The Vermont House of Representatives approved H.112 on May 10. The bill will go to the senate next in fall 2013. If passed, the earliest the act could become law is January 2014.
GMO Labeling Effort Reaches Washington
Senate and House bills would require the FDA to develop regulations for the labeling of food containing bioengineered ingredients.
Burger King CEO To Take Over at Heinz
Bernardo Hees of 3G Capital is new CEO of Pittsburgh acquisition.
The New Hostess Company Resumes Operations
The Metropolous-Apollo-controlled company plans to reopen four plants and hire workers, but not union labor.
- 04/19/2013 Cheesemaker, Restaurant Chain Hold Mac and Cheese Cookoff
- 04/19/2013 Restaurant Chain That Also Supplies School Lunches Goes Trans Fat-Free
$10 Billion Offer for D.E Master Blenders 1753
Former part of Sara Lee eyed by European fund Joh. A. Benckiser.
- All news »
Access Food Processing and Wellness Foods magazines on-line and receive an e-mail each month when your new issue is ready. Subscribe Now »
Biweekly updates delivering feature articles, top industry news, company news, product announcements, technical issues and more. Subscribe Now »