Union workers at the Hostess bakery in Seattle have joined a strike at Hostess production plants around the country.
Union members say Hostess is cutting wages, healthcare benefits, closing plants and taking away pensions.
More than 5,000 Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union members are employed at 34 Hostess Brands facilities across the country. They are joined by drivers, loaders and thrift store workers. (BCTGM fact sheet)
"Our members work extremely hard here. They keep this bakery running and they deserve a fair and equitable contract. said Christian Dube with International Union of Operating Engineers Local 286.
Dube said contract talks have been going on for months.
"We feel like the company should not be implementing this last, best and final offer and we feel very strongly about that and that's why we're on strike," he said.
Hostess, which makes Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, filed for bankruptcy in January - the second time in eight years.
Hostess Brands issued a statement, saying “A widespread strike will cause Hostess Brands to liquidate if we are unable to produce or deliver products. 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 percent 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.”