Hostess looking to get back in business, sans the union employees

posted at 4:01 pm on April 26, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Last fall, Hostess tried to readjust their struggling business model and keep the company (along with its 19,000-strong workforce) going strong by closing a few factories and downsizing workers’ wages and benefits — and the bakers’ union to which a big chunk of the Hostess workforce belonged didn’t like that all. Their resulting strike turned out to be a suicide mission, however; the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union might have thought they were calling the company’s bluff, but Hostess really could not afford to keep up the bloated pay structure, and the settlement failure meant liquidation and a whole lot of layoffs.

Now, a buyout firm is looking to put Hostess’s bankrupt assets back into business; Ed mentioned yesterday that at least one plant should be up and running by July, and they’re planning on re-opening several other plants in short order — but they’re trying to do it without the union contract this time. Via ABC:

But last month Apollo Global Management, LLC, and Metropoulos & Co., which owns Pabst Blue Ribbon and Vlasic pickles, bought the 83-year-old company for $410 million, renaming it Hostess Brands LLC. It is planning to re-open four bakeries over the next two and a half months, in Columbus, Ga.; Emporia, Kan.; Schiller Park, Ill.; and Indianapolis. It is also contemplating a fifth in Los Angeles.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, C. Dean Metropoulos, the company’s chief executive, said that between now and September, he plans to inject $60 million in capital investments into the plants, and hopes to hire at least 1,500 workers. …

While Metropoulos did not respond to interview requests from ABC News, he told the Journal that he does “not expect to be involved in the union going forward.” …

A spokeswoman for the BCTGM did not return phone calls to ABC News. In a March statement, BTCGM president David Durkee said, “We share the enthusiasm, energy and passions exhibited by new ownership, and believe our highly-motivated and skilled workforce will serve as indispensable partners in the seamless re-opening of factories,” he said.

But, according to the Journal, Metropoulos and his son, Daren, felt confident that they would be able to hire non-union employees near the new plants.

The loss of all of those jobs last year was something of a PR debacle for the unions — one that they could ill afford in these declining days of union membership — and now the company is back on the prowl for more competitive, more attractive non-union hires. True that the new hires could unionize sometime in the future, but as Hostess executive vice president Michael Cramer said on Thursday, “We are not going to invite the unions in. We don’t have to.”

The Hostess closing left 18,000 people out of work across the country—with about 5,000 of those union members. Hiring in remodeled plants is underway. …

“The Hostess strike will be a lasting image and not for the good of unions,” said Marc Bloch, a labor and employment lawyer at Walter & Haverfield.

“I think any management team will hold up a photo to its workers of Hostess strikers and say, ‘What’s a union going to do for you?”’ Bloch said. “The case can be made that they did nothing.” …

Only 14.3 million of all workers in the U.S. currently belong to unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—just 11.3 percent of the total workforce. That’s the lowest rate in 70 years. The peak for union workers was a 35 percent rate during the mid-1950s, after a surge in unionization during the Great Depression through post-World War II.


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Good for the New company. And ensure that you keep unions out by telling them up front: If you unionize, we’ll shut back down or move to a non-union state. Especially in Illinois where that crap is like a virus spreading amongst the populace there. Those idiots don’t get it unless they are fired for being too stupid to cross a street in a ghost town.

JP1986UM on April 26, 2013 at 4:06 PM

“We are not going to invite the unions in. We don’t have to.”

In Utopia, you have to, if the State says that you have to.

That’s the whole point of Utopia.

You’ll have to.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 26, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Well, I guess the unions really showed management who’s boss.

/s

AZfederalist on April 26, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I predict the Twinkie Massacre of 2013. Union thugs beating people, fire bombings, etc.

portlandon on April 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM

A spokeswoman for the BCTGM did not return phone calls to ABC News. In a March statement, BTCGM president David Durkee said, “We share the enthusiasm, energy and passions exhibited by new ownership, and believe our highly-motivated and skilled workforce will serve as indispensable partners in the seamless re-opening of factories,” he said.

I ran this through my super decoder ring and got this:

“We need to eat. I can’t make my mortgage or car payments anymore. Please, please, please, give us a shot. I promise we won’t jack you around anymore for more money, less hours, and more power over a company that we don’t own any part of, you know, the usual union BS.”

BobMbx on April 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM

THAT is what should have happened to GM and Chrysler.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Delicious development

i enjoy watching unions implode

DanMan on April 26, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Great news for Hostess. I hope the union thugs don’t try to keep workers away with threats? They are a nasty bunch and don’t give up easy!
L

letget on April 26, 2013 at 4:11 PM

March statement, BTCGM president David Durkee said, “We share the enthusiasm, energy and passions exhibited by new ownership, and believe our highly-motivated and skilled workforce will serve as indispensable partners in the seamless re-opening of factories,” he said.

Umm, no.

Jabberwock on April 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Good for the New company. And ensure that you keep unions out by telling them up front: If you unionize, we’ll shut back down or move to a non-union state. Especially in Illinois where that crap is like a virus spreading amongst the populace there. Those idiots don’t get it unless they are fired for being too stupid to cross a street in a ghost town.

JP1986UM on April 26, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Good luck with that. The unions think that all this kind of talk is bluffing by evil corporate overlords who are stockpiling away mountains of unneeded cash and could pay everyone a $100,000 salary if they weren’t so evil. The unions always attempt to call the bluff and they always end up losing when businesses close.

Shump on April 26, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Only 14.3 million of all workers in the U.S. currently belong to unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—just 11.3 percent of the total workforce. That’s the lowest rate in 70 years.

Yeah, but ~60% of federal government employees are union. Why is the federal government unionized anyway? My wife works for the State Department (PSC contract), and it is impossible to get anyone fired. It almost never happens, even for non-performance.

Hang in there Hostess!

Patriot Vet on April 26, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Great news for Hostess. I hope the union thugs don’t try to keep workers away with threats? They are a nasty bunch and don’t give up easy!
L

letget on April 26, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Eh ?

Just show a picture of the thugs preventing workers from going to work in the bakery.

That won’t last long.

Jabberwock on April 26, 2013 at 4:17 PM

“I think any management team will hold up a photo to its workers of Hostess strikers and say, ‘What’s a union going to do for you?”’ Bloch said. “The case can be made that they did nothing.” …

Unless you’re in a public employee union. Then the union will work with management (the government) to pick the pockets of taxpayers.

Bitter Clinger on April 26, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Oh jeez I just don’t know how the new company will attract any workers, I mean the unemployment rate is so low. /

Or maybe they are waiting for that immigration bill to usher in those unsuspecting immigrants to take lousy jobs? /

redguy on April 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM

st Louis desperately needs the jobs. unionizing would be the kiss of death.

tom daschle concerned on April 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Great news for Hostess. I hope the union thugs don’t try to keep workers away with threats? They are a nasty bunch and don’t give up easy!
L

letget on April 26, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Obama gave all the union employees a cushy landing….they won’t want to work now.

redguy on April 26, 2013 at 4:20 PM

While I never was a twinkie fan, hubby used to eatemup.

Bravo for the sans* bit :)

jersey taxpayer on April 26, 2013 at 4:20 PM

I am sure the Obama administration will give the new company grief at every turn….

They might want to wait until 2016 for major investments…..

redguy on April 26, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Very good news but why would they even consider building/hiring in Illinois or CA? Aren’t they just asking for union trouble?

Newly, ‘right to work’ Wisconsin is just up the road.

JetBlast on April 26, 2013 at 4:30 PM

I think the Schiller Park, Ill. plant will be a challenge to keep free non-union.

Rich H on April 26, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Unions are un-American. Bravo to the new management!

beatcanvas on April 26, 2013 at 4:34 PM

This should help the Food Truck Thread industry.

SparkPlug on April 26, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Very good news but why would they even consider building/hiring in Illinois or CA? Aren’t they just asking for union trouble?

Newly, ‘right to work’ Wisconsin is just up the road.

JetBlast on April 26, 2013 at 4:30 PM

I think the Schiller Park, Ill. plant will be a challenge to keep free non-union.

Rich H on April 26, 2013 at 4:32 PM

This.

Bitter Clinger on April 26, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Their resulting strike turned out to be a suicide mission, however; the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union might have thought they were calling the company’s bluff, but Hostess really could not afford to keep up the bloated pay structure, and the settlement failure meant liquidation and a whole lot of layoffs.

Sadly Erika, the union sees that as a victory. They would prefer to send a message to corporations that if they don’t give in to the greedy union, the greedy union can break the corporation. A few jobs lost means nothing greedy union management.

Hostess would be insane to open or reopen any facility that’s not in a Right-to-Work state.

slickwillie2001 on April 26, 2013 at 4:47 PM

I tried one of the NEW, NON-UNION Twinkies. Naturally, like everything else, they’re of better quality, better tasting, more appealing, cost less and are even more greatly satisfying now that they DO NOT HAVE THE UNION LABEL!!!!!!

TeaPartyNation on April 26, 2013 at 4:57 PM

The unions are destructive. Unions are unnecessary in today’s workforce. Let alone a Twinkie factory.

Kini on April 26, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Quoted from the CBS article gruesomely titled “Have Twinkies Killed the Union Movement?”

Only 14.3 million of all workers in the U.S. currently belong to unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—just 11.3 percent of the total workforce. That’s the lowest rate in 70 years. The peak for union workers was a 35 percent rate during the mid-1950s, after a surge in unionization during the Great Depression through post-World War II.

Does this mean 14.3 million of all private sector workers?

egmont on April 26, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Darn, and here I am on a perpetual diet having lost 30 lbs. over the last 3 1/2 months…

kirkill on April 26, 2013 at 5:15 PM

They should move to Colorado, then they could make those “Special” Brownies…

kirkill on April 26, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Good luck, Hostess!

FloatingRock on April 26, 2013 at 5:23 PM

A spokeswoman for the BCTGM did not return phone calls to ABC News. In a March statement, BTCGM president David Durkee said, “We share the enthusiasm, energy and passions exhibited by new ownership, and believe our highly-motivated and skilled workforce will serve as indispensable partners in the seamless re-opening of factories,” he said.

Translation: the new company better hire us back. Would be a shame is something happened to your families…

Sockpuppet Politic on April 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Barky will send the NLRB as a proxy to disrupt any attempt at starting a successful business, of course.

Philly on April 26, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Let’s face, there’s no way hostess can avoid California. Too much money. I think they can avoid unions if they’re careful.

I don’t know how pervasive bakers unions are here.

I’m not a fan of unions, in a job I had in high school, I was forced to pay dues to the CWA, even though I didn’t want to join.

But,I’m in entertainment, so I’m surrounded by unions, Sag/aftra, teamsters, etc.
Sag is the worse. Of course everyone wants to join because otherwise you can’t work as an actor. I’m constantly Taft Hartley ing actors so I can use them.

Sag then charges these poor actors $2,300 to join plus annual dues. Or you don’t work.

danielreyes on April 26, 2013 at 5:41 PM

They’ll have them re-unionized within a year.

HopeHeFails on April 26, 2013 at 5:56 PM

THAT is what should have happened to GM and Chrysler.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Exactly.

Count to 10 on April 26, 2013 at 6:02 PM

I tried one of the NEW, NON-UNION Twinkies. Naturally, like everything else, they’re of better quality, better tasting, more appealing, cost less and are even more greatly satisfying now that they DO NOT HAVE THE UNION LABEL!!!!!!

TeaPartyNation on April 26, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Just like cars and trucks, right?

slickwillie2001 on April 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

THAT is what should have happened to GM and Chrysler.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

EXACTLY.

Bob's Kid on April 26, 2013 at 7:36 PM

believe our highly-motivated and skilled workforce will serve as indispensable partners in the seamless peaceful re-opening of factories

Say what you really mean, Dave.

Odysseus on April 26, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Boom! take that unions..Sure would like to get those orange cupcakes and mini donuts back

sadsushi on April 26, 2013 at 8:24 PM

While I will be happy to see Hostess cakes back on the shelves, C. Dean Metropoulos is dumber than dumb. Why reopen/open ANY bakeries in non-Right-to-Work states? Sadly, I believe Hostess is doomed to repeat its untimely death. Best stock up, folks!

TXJenny on April 26, 2013 at 9:13 PM

worked for the air-traffic why not cupcakes.

losarkos on April 26, 2013 at 9:15 PM

I want a cheeseboiger and a Twinkie.

Sherman1864 on April 26, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Had a professor who took a dim view of the nutritional value (so to speak) of “junk food” in general.
His reasoning: “If mold won’t grow on a Twinkie, neither will you.”

AesopFan on April 26, 2013 at 11:31 PM

I am sure the old employes who want to work and don’t give a crap about the union that put them on the street could get a job with the new company.

You don’t need a union to work!

Delsa on April 26, 2013 at 11:43 PM

If I was the new owner of that company, I would relocate all of the plant and equipment in the newly minted right to work states, just to stick it in the eye of the unions. MI and IN come to mind.

karenhasfreedom on April 27, 2013 at 12:26 AM

Hooray for management. Unions were needed at one point in time, but no longer.

MN J on April 27, 2013 at 12:35 AM

I was already upset with Unions — and then they killed the Twinkie.

Axion on April 27, 2013 at 6:10 PM