NEW YORK: Twinkies might not last forever after all.
Hostess Brands Inc., which makes Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and other snacks and formerly had a bakery in Akron, filed a motion Friday with U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to shutter its operations. The move comes after the company said striking workers across the country crippled its ability to maintain production.
The closing would mean the loss of about 18,500 jobs. The company said employees at its 33 factories were sent home and operations suspended Friday and its roughly 500 bakery outlet stores will stay open for several days to sell remaining products.
Hostess CEO Greg Rayburn said in an interview that there was no buyer waiting to buy the company. But without giving details, he said that there has been interest in some of its 30 brands, which include Dolly Madison, Drake’s and Nature’s Pride snacks.
Rayburn said plants were operating well below 50 percent capacity and customers were not getting products.
Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade, as it struggled with increased competition, Americans’ move toward healthier eating and the high pension, wage and medical costs related to its unionized work force.
The move to liquidate comes after a long battle with its unions. Thousands of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike last week after rejecting a contract offer that slashed wages. The bakers union represents about 30 percent of the company’s work force.
A representative for the bakers union did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The company had reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Teamsters had urged the bakery union this week to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking.