ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – An ultimatum from the maker of Twinkies, Ho Ho’s and Wonder Bread: if workers didn’t stop their strike by 5 o’clock Thursday night, the company would liquidate. But 5 o’clock came and went, and Hostess Brands has yet to make a decision on whether their sweet snacks will stay off the shelves for good.
The first Twinkie dates all the way back to 1830, but 2012 could be the end of this classic cake, and Hostess’s other iconic treats.
After shutting three plants on Monday, including one in St. Louis, company executives are weighing the options. On Friday, they’re expected to announce their final decision.
In a sign of what could be the new normal, the Hostess Thrift Store outside the St. Louis plant shut its doors Thursday afternoon. That disappointed customer Charles Williams, who came to stock up. He says, “This place has been really helpful for me and others as well, it’s been a success in the neighborhood, so it’ll be heartbreaking to see it leave.”
Especially heartbreaking is the unemployment that could be looming for Hostess’s 18,000 workers nationwide.
FOX 2 caught up with some of them, still on strike outside the St. Louis plant. Eleven-year Hostess worker Al Logan is in disbelief, and doesn’t feel the company will close for good. “I feel they’re not,” he says, “Maybe this one, but I don’t think they’re gonna close at all. Hostess, that’s an icon.”
Hostess is iconic, but that’s not enough to save the company from its tough spot. The bakery union strike seriously impacted production, while workers say executives have mismanaged funds all along.
But there are other problems, including more competition from brands like Little Debbie’s and Entenmann’s. Plus, Twinkies may be losing relevance. Americans are now more health conscious, and fewer moms are putting these sugary cakes in their kids’ lunch boxes.
As for Logan, he’s staying optimistic, whether he still has a job next week or not: “The Lord provides for anybody, I got faith and I believe, so it’s gonna be ok.”
Workers say they went on strike over wage and benefit cuts, the company’s lack of contribution to worker pensions, and longer work days. If Hostess does decide to liquidate altogether, operations could shut down as early as Tuesday.