A bankruptcy judge in New York has ordered Hostess Brands Incorporated back into mediation with its second-largest union, meaning for the time being the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread will not shut down.
The company had begun the process of liquidating its assets following a Nov. 9 strike by its bakers' union. The Hostess plant in St. Louis employed 360 people before it was closed last week.
Dave Douglas has worked for the company for 28 years and says he can’t afford to give up any more in wage and benefits to keep the job.
“They stole our pensions, charging us $10 a week to work here, now they want to cut our wages another 8 percent, double our insurance, do away with 8 hour guarantees, and just bleed us dry,” Douglas said.
The plant closure also marked the official end of an era for regional children. The factory was a favorite destination for student field trips.
Chad Garrison is a writer for the Riverfront Times, and remembered the factory as one of the standout experiences of elementary school.
“Oh, it was incredible,” Garrison said. “I mean really you could compare it to a visit to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, it was that enchanting.”
Even if a contract agreement is reached, it is not clear if all 33 Hostess plants will go back to being operational.
Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn said that the company and union will have to agree to contract terms within 24 hours since it is costing $1 million a day in overhead costs to wind down operations.
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