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Published: Wednesday, 11/14/2012

Hostess says it will liquidate if strikers don't return to work

BLOOMBERG NEWS
Striking worker and Chief Steward Kravis Pfeiffer from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, representing the Hostess workers from the Hostess Production Bakery in Peoria, Ill., holds signs. Striking worker and Chief Steward Kravis Pfeiffer from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, representing the Hostess workers from the Hostess Production Bakery in Peoria, Ill., holds signs.
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Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Wonder bread and Twinkies, said it will cease operations and liquidate if enough members of its striking bakery workers’ union don’t go back to work by Thursday so the company can resume normal operations.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike Nov. 9 after a bankruptcy judge in White Plains, N.Y., imposed contract concessions that 92 percent of the union workers rejected.

The company “does not have the financial resources” to survive a strike, Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn said today in a statement.

Hostess has bakeries in Northwood and Defiance and outlet stores in Toledo and Northwood. Earlier this year, Hostess officials said the Northwood bakery had 170 employees.

Mr. Rayburn said Hostess will file court papers Friday asking for authorization to shut the company down entirely on Tuesday. It will ask the judge to hold a liquidation hearing Monday, he said.

Liquidation would mean the loss of 18,000 jobs, Mr. Rayburn said. It’s now up to the bakery workers “to decide if they want to call off the strike and save the company, or cause massive financial harm to thousands of employees and their families,” according to the statement.

Hostess previously said that the strike was affecting 23 of 36 plants. The bakery workers’ went on strike in reaction to what the union called the “unilateral imposition of a horrendous contract.” The bakery union said it represents 5,000 Hostess workers.

The union didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the company’s statement.



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