UPDATE Nov. 20, 9:30 a.m.
While the country started the process of grieving the Twinkie, and far more importantly thousands of now unemployed workers wondered about their futures, a bankruptcy court judge ordered the company to sit down and talk with striking bakers before okaying the company-requested liquidation process.
We should know by Wednesday what, if anything will change.
Original Story Nov. 16
“Who cares about Twinkies? It’s about jobs,” the young woman standing near a loading dock at the rear of the Hostess Wonder Bakery Thrift Shop on Route 32 in Uncasville said. “My dad has worked here for 25 years. Now what?”
Hostess Brands announced today that a strike by bakers has forced the company to shut down operations. On its Facebook page the company thanked fans and customers but blamed bakers: "We are sorry to announce that Hostess Brands, Inc. has been forced to shut down all operations and sell all company assets due to the Bakers Union strike."
Hostess store manager Bruce Duchesneau, a Montville resident, started his 26-year career with Hostess “in this very store” when he was 22. Within a few days, he’ll be on the unemployment line.
“I hold no animosity (toward) the unions; they made their choice. And this has been a great company to work for; I’ve been able to raise a family so I have nothing but positive feelings for this company. I’ll get a job. I’m still employable.”
Duchesneau read from a company statement, which he said, describes the “situation.”
"This morning Hostess brands began the process of winding down the company after the bakers union staged a strike which affects our ability to make products and service our customers needs. Hostess brands will no longer produce goods. Brands and assets will be sold over the next few months. Retail stores will be open for (up to) three days (or until products are sold).”
Between the Montville shop and the one in Norwich, more than 30 people will be out of work, Duchesneau said.
Inside the store, workers were visibily upset and saddened but also very busy; there was a rush of customers filing in to grab the last of the Hostess-brand baked goods lining the quickly emptying shelves.
“We’re out of business. We are out of business,” a worker repeated as she helped customers fill carts. “I have to keep saying it. 'We’re out of business, we’re out of business.'” Declining to give her name, she said, “We’re not supposed to be talking to you guys (the media).”
Outside the building, Alfred Kurth, a Hostess driver, said he’d been out of work for four years when he landed the job driving for the company two months ago.
“I got a phone call a few hours ago that today was my last day. Now what? I don’t know.”
Duchesneau said his heart goes out to his employees whom he described as “family.”
“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. But we’re all going to be looking (for work).”
He also said any remaining foods will be donated to the Montville Food Bank.