Office Hours

WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2012, 11:37 A.M.

Twinkie maker says unions have to shed benefits to keep company intact

So the parent company of Twinkies is warning about 250 state workers their jobs are in jeopardy unless union concessions are offered. Fourteen of those 250 work in Spokane.

Spokesman.com has a brief summary here.

Our hope here is to offer a bit more focus on what exactly the company, based in Texas, feels is needed. The company is going through Chapter 11 reorganization.

Hostess is asking a U.S. Bankruptcy judge in White Plains, New York, for permission to reject union contracts, warning that it faces liquidation if it can’t modify labor deals.

A previous AP story summarized some of the key company requests:

Hostess wants to withdraw from some multi-employer pension plans. New hires would be covered by the same 401(k)-type retirement accounts used by nonunion and management employees.

The company’s new CEO, Gregory F. Rayburn, said Hostess wants to cut annual pension contributions from $103 million to $25 million. Hostess also wants to change work rules that sometimes require two trucks instead of one, and to outsource deliveries to small stores.
 
Consumers increasingly have been buying other snacks, such as yogurt, and more wheat bread. White bread’s popularity has plunged — in 2000, it was eaten in 54 percent of all U.S. homes compared to 36 percent last year, according to consumer-marketing research firm NPD Group.
 
As part of its turnaround plan, Hostess wants to raise at least $400 million from current lenders or new investors or by selling brands. Rayburn said he has talked with a potential buyer of one of its small, regional brands.



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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.





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