Monday, November 26, 2012

Hostess Shutdown Puts 600 Out of Work in Northern Utah

A truck driver with 45,000 pounds of sugar was turned away from the Hostess plant on Lincoln Avenue Friday after the company's top officials indefinitely halted operations at the facility and others nationwide.
"I sat around for an hour and a half … and then got a call to take the sugar someplace else," said Rocky Ridge, a driver for Idaho-based Handy Truck Line.

Employees at the factory — which has turned out truckloads of donuts, breads, cupcakes and other baked goods for several decades — seemed to have been expecting the move by higher-ups to liquidate the company, he said.

None of the roughly 600 workers at the Ogden facility had joined in the union-led protests, which eventually brought the battle between company executives and workers to a stalemate.

Randy Vigil, who has worked for Hostess for 15 years, said he hoped the company would have found a solution "for those who kept working."

Vigil said he'll collect unemployment and "try to start over."

Hostess Bakery Outlet stores across the state were hit with customers Friday, many hoping to snatch up the last of what was expected to be available to consumers. The company's request for permission from
the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to close down and sell off all its brands signaled an end to nearly 124 years of production of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and more of Hostess' nostalgic brands.

The move will shut down 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers and 570 outlet stores nationwide, as well as lay off 18,500 employees.

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell says, "It's a heartbreaking day for all these families that are affected."
He said the iconic bakery was part of the culture of Ogden.

While it is unknown what will happen to the company's property, building and equipment, Caldwell said the former employees shouldn't have to worry. He said Ogden's "robust economy" can absorb the local job losses. In the near future, the mayor expects the Division of Workforce Services to host a job fair specifically aimed at those whom Hostess has laid off.

Hostess' bankruptcy is expected to have a ripple effect in the economy of various gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores and thrift shops across the country. Sales of the once popular confections were already low, due to what some believe was intense competition from other snack foods, as well as a desire among the American people to eat better.

"It's Hostess bakery, it's the place to go to get snacks or something in your system," she said. "I really don't want to see the bakery shut down. I feel bad for the people who lose their jobs." Deseret News

Related story: Twinkies Likely to Survive Sale of Hostess