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UPDATE: Not So Fast: Judge Orders Talks Before Hostess Liquidation

Friday Hostess said it was out of business. Monday a judge ordered the company and unions to talk. Should know by Wednesday what's what while so many 'wonder' about their jobs.

 

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.

Cynthia Kozaczensky November 16, 2012 at 07:30 PM
What a shame. Good luck to all. The town will miss you.
Ellyn Santiago (Editor) November 16, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Aside from the most devastating part of this story -- that people are losing jobs -- how different will the landscape be with this store gone?
LiveForFreedom November 16, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Hostess Brands has been struggling with $1 Billion dollars in debt for 4 years during this recession. The company has endured huge increases in healthcare, pensions and Union salary agreements bound by contracts. The Company asked the Union workers to come back to work and stop striking. If not, the company said it would go out of business. The Union workers made their choice. Now the company is closed. The workers have no jobs. Is collecting unemployment really that attractive rather than a steady paycheck?
Fred Young November 16, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Sad thing is that if & when a new company hires 50 people with state & federal incentives, the state & feds will be jumping up & down proclaiming how they created 50 new jobs. Oops, that new company will be sure to keep the number just under 50. Good Luck Hostess & Employees, your demise is just another straw that will break this countries back.
REVMAN November 16, 2012 at 09:48 PM
This company has had 6 CEO's in the last 10 years that could not or would not run the company effeciently but just get their bonuses and move on then blame the unions.the unions were asked for more GIVE backs and refused becaused the company has files for bankruptsy twice since 2004.Healthcare (Obama care) is one of the reasons as it will be for many more companies.
REVMAN November 16, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I have shopped there for 27-30 years what a shame,we will miss the people that work there.More companies will also close or charge more(Papa John & Denny's)do to high healthcare costs this is just a drop in the bucket.
Smith November 16, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Funny thing about Papa John's crying about cost, but yet giving away 2 million free pizzas. In addition, I wonder if Papa John's cutting cost has anything to do with the $250 million dollar class action lawsuit it is facing over illegal texts sent to customers. But, it I guess it is much easier to blame it all on the ACA and it gives the anti-Obama crowd more ammo to froth at the mouth about.
BJ November 16, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Smith: If you do not like these companies, you are free to give your business to someone else. Why should they not have the same freedom? Why is it right to force a company to do something they are not forcing you to do anything?
Keith Faulkner November 17, 2012 at 03:46 AM
You people crack me up. You just have to blame somebody. When was the last time any of you ate a Hostess Cup Cake? They are horrible. The cake is like glue and the filling us like calk. Nobody eats twinkies anymore. Honestly would you put one in your child's lunch? My daughter is 27 years old and I don't think she ever ate a Twinkie. HoHos? Really? White bread? Good God, Hostess is going down into the dust bin of history and they have no one to blame but themselves. Nobody eats that crap anymore. Waxing poetic about a product does nothing at all but make you feel better. And of course gives you something else to blame on Obama.
AJC November 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM
What does Papa John's marketing strategy have to do with their operating expense,in this case healthcare? Every company in this country whether it employs none or thousands has a responsibility to pay their bills and make a profit if possible. A job is no one's right and it is no company's responsibility to stay in business to keep people employed. people that believe otherwise need government jobs.
AJC November 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Good point Keith. A good part of their problem appears to be the lack of responding to the public's eating habits,which have changed.
Fake Mr. Fuji November 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM
What's funnier, knowing what caulk tastes like or not knowing how to spell caulk?
Keith Faulkner November 17, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Lol good question Mr Fuji! (If that's your real name)
Luckyguy November 17, 2012 at 06:31 PM
LiveForFreedom is 100% right. These Union workers made their bed, now they must lie in it. These same Union idiots voted for Obama who has no idea how to create job growth and stimulate the economy. I do not feel sorry for anybody who loses their job and voted for Obama. It's a lose-lose proposition. How does that "change" feel now?
Luckyguy November 17, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I wish local business owners would be honest and post the local politicians and President they voted for in this recent election. Then the public could choose whether to give their business to them in these tough economic conditions. If I find out any local business owner voted for Murphy, Courtney or Obama I will NOT do business with them EVER. These politicians are killing businesses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! Career Politicians side for Unions and state workers to get re-elected every year. What about job growth and economic growth? With a $365 million state deficit is it still right that we have to fund the pension plans of state workers? NO WAY. But Chris "dork" Murphy, Dick B and Joe C do. I think everybody who voted for these idiots ought to fund state worker pensions then see if they vote this way again. CT is so corrupt and why people continue to vote "D" is mind boggling. All you EB Union dudes will be without jobs soon and I will NOT feel sorry because we know which way you voted. How do you like Obama Change now? 4 More years of layoffs, an Iran bomb, and kiss your #$%^ goodbye.
BJ November 17, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Luckyguy: Liberals do not live in the real world. They do/vote for what makes them feel good, now; liberals live for the moment. Liberals lack vision and original thought. Liberals mock principles and common sense. You will never "understand" them if you live in the real world. Liberals are gullible enough that they will vote for politicians that promise them the candy jar; then they will re-elect them when they promise to pay for their teeth to be fixed; then re-elect hem again when they promise to pay for their diabetes medication; they will re-elect them when they blame the republicans for all their health problems; they will re-elect them when they promise to punish those evil republicans with higher taxes.
Keith Faulkner November 17, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Funny how people won't post there names. I'm a proud union member. We tried going non union in the 90s. What a dismal failure. My schedule is two weeks on two weeks off. The first thing the company's did was force us to work two weeks on one week off! Next they tried pulling health care. Things went downhill from there. When we finally got the union back every company in NY Harbor went on a rebuild program. All new Boats and all new Barges. At a cost of millions. How could these company's pay union scale and build a new fleet? Oh yes after the Exxon Valdez. New Gov. regulations went into effect, keeping our Bays , Sounds and oceans much cleaner. No more POS Tugs and barges plying our Sound, Rivers and Bays. Thanks to the Gov. and good paying Union jobs keeping qualified men on the job. If you want to live in a country with no regulations I hear Somalia is nice at this time of year!
BJ November 17, 2012 at 07:57 PM
KF: Just exactly how can a company FORCE you to do anything? You are free to work there, or somewhere else if you do not like the conditions; they cannot force you to work. Why do some of us not use our real names? OK Mr. Proud Union Member... have you ever had your life threatened by a Union thug? You business vandalized? Your children harassed at school (by teachers)? It is the unions that are evil. It is the government that can TRULY force you to do things. It is Business that is the victim of regulation; and it is the businesses that pay for everything. Unions and government are what destroys.
Keith Faulkner November 17, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I really do miss those days when Unions threatened people. To bad they have gone the way of good pay checks. Your right nobody can force me into anything. So, what am I supposed to do? Wake up one morning and say, well that career didn't work out. Guess ill be a doctor today.
BJ November 17, 2012 at 09:38 PM
KF: "Those days" are alive and well. What are you supposed to do? How many careers fade overnight? A good employee is flexible, and does whatever it takes to get the job done with excellence and integrity. No matter what happens in a company a good employer will "watch-out" for their good employees. Why would you want to put a middleman in between yourself and your employer? My experience is that union employees NEED a union because they are NOT good employees, just my experience. I have also worked with many non-union employees that were just awful, BUT I have never had an outstanding employee who would EVER consider working in a union. There is a principle at work here. One person says: "I am responsible for myself and the choices I make." The other person says: "It is a big scary world, and I need all the help I can get." The first person will make the best out of any circumstance; the second will be a "victim" of circumstance. The first person adapt, improves, gets stronger; the second whines, complains, blames, and seeks out someone/something to follow/save them. No value judgement, but I would rather have a world full of the first; however America just proved that the majority is the second.
Cynthia Kozaczensky November 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I've worked both union and non-union jobs and found union jobs to have slightly higher pay rates. That being said I was always happier in a non-union job where an employer feels free to show appreciation to one who strives to succeed. Merit raises, better shifts, promotions and other benefits were often given to me in non-union positions as the employer was not bound by rules of seniority etc. I was the same worker doing essentially the same job for both businesses, though in the union job I was reminded by the shop steward NOT to go above and beyond as it was against the rules. While unions may protect the worker, they can also prevent that same worker from excelling. Unions served a very important purpose at one time, now they seem to serve no one but the Union Management.
Casey November 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Are these employees, who decide not to work, eligible for unemployment? I hope not.
Fred Young November 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Should be. Looks like a union, among several forced the issue. As for unemployment, I hope they can collect long enough to find other employment. There will be some that will learn to milk the system for nearly as much annually as if they continued to work full time for low paying jobs. Then, they can teach thier next generations to do the same, as history has shown. Higher taxes for taxpayers? Slam dunk.
REVMAN November 20, 2012 at 01:36 PM
LiveFor--You forgot to mention Twinkies that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, will ask a bankruptcy judge today to approve a plan that will allow it to pay $1.75 million in bonuses to 19 of its executives.Even as it blamed unions for the bankruptcy and the 18,500 job losses that will ensue, Hostess already gave its executives pay raises earlier this year. The salary of the company’s chief executive tripled from $750,000 to roughly $2.5 million.
REVMAN November 20, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Keith The state can force you to get car insurance if you drive,force you to obey their laws,force you to pay taxes,etc. NOW the FERERAL GOV will force you to get healthcare insurance because it is a TAX. So you can be force to do what the state,fed,any local goverenments what YOU to do. Somalia ??
REVMAN November 20, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Yes they are to collect up to 59 weeks.The company wanted to included a painful 8 percent pay cut. The Teamsters also agreed to a partial overhauling of the pension system.this was the second or third GIVE BACK.

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