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home : news : news   May 25, 2016

11/16/2012 6:28:00 PM
Hostess closing hits the Illinois Valley

Kevin Caufield
NewsTribune Reporter

Hostess bakery outlets throughout the Illinois Valley had full parking lots Friday as customers rushed in to get what was left of their favorite Hostess products.
The outlets will close Tuesday, leaving employees there searching for work after the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread announced Thursday it could no longer afford to be in business.
“I’ve been coming here for about a decade,” Peru resident Louis Wallick said Friday in front of the Hostess Bakery Outlet in La Salle. “I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else.”
Employees at the local Hostess outlet, known locally as the Butternut Store, in La Salle were told not to speak with local news media. Instead, members of the media were given a telephone number to a corporate official who did not return messages before deadline.
Hostess Brands will lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders. That means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores in the United States.
News of the Hostess closing had commenters on the NewsTribune’s Facebook page pointing fingers at Hostess union employees while others defended those employees and blamed corporate mismanagement.
Hostess filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to shutter its business after striking employees refused to heed a warning of complete closure if they did not return to work Thursday. 
The Irving, Texas-based company already had 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, according to Officials for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union say the company stopped contributing to workers’ pensions last year.
The 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 had argued that workers must make concessions for it to exit bankruptcy and improve its financial position.
The company, founded in 1930, was fighting battles beyond labor costs, however. Competition is increasing in the snack space and Americans increasingly are conscious about healthy eating. Hostess also makes Dolly Madison, Drake’s and Nature’s Pride snacks.
Stock at the Butternut Store steadily depleted Friday as shoppers such as Dalzell resident Gianna Antle continued to fill the store parking lot looking for one last chance to take advantage of wholesale prices.
“I guess we’ll have to start going to Wal-Mart orHyVee,” she said.

Related Stories:
• Hostess moves to shutter its bakery operations

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Anonymous19647

Maybe a cut in pay wouldn't have been a bad idea. Good luck finding a job.

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