Union workers may permanently kill off the iconic Twinkie. Hostess Brands, Inc., the company that makes Twinkies, announced on Wednesday that it will ask a bankruptcy judge to allow it to shut down and sell off its assets as soon as November 20, if union workers do not end their strike by Thursday.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, whose members make up nearly a third of the company's workforce, has been on strike at plants across the country protesting "pay cuts that Hostess" won the right to impose in bankruptcy court.
Hostess Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn said the company would have to fire most of its workers on November 20 if union workers do not come back to work by 5 p.m. EST on Thursday and the judge allows the Hostess to liquidate its assets.
"We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike," Rayburn said.
The strike already forced Hostess to close three of its 36 bakeries earlier this week, which led to the 627 workers being laid off. Hostess did, however, reach an agreement with the Teamsters, which is its largest union.
Hostess filed for bankruptcy protection on January 11, and the company had nearly $860 million in debt at the time.
Greg Hesse, a bankruptcy attorney, said union workers were striking because they think an unnamed buyer would purchase the company, but a judge said there were no imminent buyers.
"It would be hard to imagine a world without Twinkies," Hesse said.