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Twinkies, Wonder bakeries closeTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Courtesy Photo­Image
Courtesy Photo­Image

Wonder breads and Twinkies could be a thing of the past, after the Hostess Brands company announced Friday morning that it will close.

The closure affects hundreds of distribution centers and retail stores, as well as dozens of bakeries, and puts 18,500 workers out of work.

The company has struggled financially for nearly a decade, undergoing two bankruptcy-driven reorganizations. After a year-and-half period of negotiations with workers to reduce their pay, management recently said it had to cut pay by 8 percent and reduce benefits.

Wonder bread and Twinkies are noted for their unnaturally long shelf life. As a test, the Bulletin staff bought Wonder bread three years ago and left it atop a shelf in the back office. It did not develop a speck of mold.

Rather than accept the pay cuts, workers went out on strikes on Nov. 9. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union said the contract would also cut benefits by 27-32 percent, in addition to the 8-percent pay cut.

The company ordered the workers to return to work by Thursday, and when they didn’t, owners announced the company is closing.

The company also offered to give Hostess Brands’ 12 unions a 25 percent ownership stake in the company, representation on its board of directors and $100 million in reorganized Hostess Brands’ debt, the company said.

Wonder bread and other Hostess snacks might survive under new owners. Rayburn said the brands and assets would be auctioned to other companies.

Hostess snack brands include: Hostess®, Drakes® and Dolly Madison®, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs®, Ho Ho’s®, Sno Balls® and Donettes®. Breads include Wonder®, Nature’s Pride ®, Merita®, Home Pride®, Butternut®, and Beefsteak® among others, the company said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 11/16/2012
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