IRVING, TEXAS — Approximately 23 of Hostess Brands, Inc.’s 36 plants were on strike as of this morning, according to the Irvine-based bread and snack cake maker.
A full list of the striking facilities was not made available by the company, but according to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (B.C.T.G.M.) strikes were taking place at the following: Oakland, Calif.; Jacksonville and Orlando, Fla.; Peoria, Ill.; Columbus, Ind.; Lenexa, Kas.; Biddeford, Maine; Billings, Mont.; Northwood, Ohio; Tulsa, Okla.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Seattle.
In addition, members of the B.C.T.G.M. employed at the following locations began honoring picket lines: Los Angeles/Glendale and Sacramento, Calif.; Hodgkins and Schiller Park, Ill.; Indianapolis; Emporia, Kas.; St. Louis; Cincinnati; Philadelphia; Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.
The B.C.T.G.M. defined the difference between striking and honoring a strike as: “Some Hostess workers are free to strike because either the bankruptcy court so ruled, the local union terminated the existing collective bargaining agreement and is therefore free to strike under the National Labor Relations Act, or Hostess has implemented its final offer, freeing the workers to reject it via strike action. Those workers from locals that are striking may establish picket lines at other Hostess plants and, under B.C.T.G.M. contract language that remains in effect, workers at those plants honor the strike picket lines and can stay off the job.”
News of the strikes broke late last week after the B.C.T.G.M. issued a statement saying its members were striking in response to Hostess’ imposition of a contract that was rejected by 92% of the union’s Hostess members in September.
“Hostess Brands is making a mockery of the labor relations system that has been in place for nearly 100 years,” said Frank Hurt, president of the B.C.T.G.M. “Our members are not just striking for themselves, but for all unionized workers across North America who are covered by collective bargaining agreements.”
Responding to the B.C.T.G.M. announcement, Hostess maintained its stance that a strike will only lead to the wind-down of the company.
“A widespread strike will cause Hostess Brands to liquidate if we are unable to produce or deliver products,” Hostess said. “If that’s the case, the company will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,300-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.
“We urge our employees to remain on the job to rebuild the company. Sixty-four per cent of our workforce is composed of non-union employees and employees represented by unions that ratified our proposals for modified collective bargaining agreements. We believe they have earned the right to rebuild Hostess.
“We know the concessions are tough, but it would make more sense for unhappy employees to simply leave the company voluntarily than to strike and cause the company to close down, forcing everyone to lose their jobs.”
As of Monday morning, a Hostess spokesperson said the company was not involved in any negotiations with the B.C.T.G.M.