Tags: twinkies | hohos | union | labor

New Twinkie Maker Won't Use Union Labor

Thursday, 25 Apr 2013 01:12 PM

By Melanie Batley

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The company that’s bringing back the Twinkie will not be employing union workers in its production plants, after the original maker of the classic treat was put out of business from a union strike last year.

The company that bought the Twinkie, HoHo, and Ding Dong brands for $410 million is reopening four bakeries in the next eight to 10 weeks, with the aim of getting the cakes back on the shelves by July, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“We do not expect to be involved in the union going forward,” said C. Dean Metropoulos, chief executive of Hostess Brands LLC-Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC.

The company will invest $60 million into the plants between now and September with the aim of hiring at least 1,500 workers.

The move to exclude union employees may come as a surprise to bosses who predicted that the new owner would be forced to rely on the thousands of workers that were put out of a job when Hostess Brands Inc. closed its doors.

David Durkee, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union, who issued the work stoppage leading to the Twinkie's demise, said in February that his workers would likely get a better deal when the new owners restarted operations. He said the only way for the brands to have a “seamless restart” would be to rehire unionized bakers.

“Only our members know how to get that equipment running,” Durkee said. “A work force off the street will not be able to accomplish that.”

But Metropoulos and his son Daren, the CEO of Pabst Brewing Co., are confident they can find skilled nonunion workers.

“We’re trying to find the most qualified people in these local markets to come work for the company,” said Daren Metropoulos.

The company has purchased plants in Columbus, Ga., Emporia, Kan., Schiller Park, Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind., with a possible fifth plant in Los Angeles. It plans to maximize capacity at each location and use a new distribution model.

Hostess Brands Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2012 and ultimately shut down in November after union members rebelled against new labor terms. At its peak, the 86-year-old company employed 19,000 workers, 15,000 of whom were represented by unions.

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