Report by

Ron Oswald
General Secretary, IUF

Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) have said no to coercion, false promises and financial pillage and gone on strike against Hostess Brands, one of the largest industrial bakers in the US.

The nationwide action began on Friday, November 9, with strikes hitting 5 plants. Since then, the strike has extended to a total of 12 plants across the United States. In addition, workers at 13 other Hostess locations, who may not legally go on strike, are honoring picket lines established by striking local unions.

The strike is in response to the company’s unilateral imposition of outrageous wage and benefits cuts which 92% of BCTGM’s members at Hostess rejected in September.

Hostess Brands is in bankruptcy for the second time in eight years. Since the first bankruptcy in 2004, BCTGM members have taken dramatic wage and benefit concessions demanded by the company’s private equity and hedge fund owners with the promise of fresh investments and a focus on product development.

Instead, as 21 Hostess plants were shut down and thousands of jobs were lost, the new owners left aging assets to deteriorate further and pumped revenue out of the company, allowing its debt to grow.