Hostess Workers Continue Strike Despite Threats Of Closure

Thursday, November 15th 2012, 4:50 pm
By: News On 6

Hostess has said it plans to close its plants across the country, including the one at 11th and Sheridan in Tulsa, unless its employees stop striking.

If the company goes through with it, they would be putting the 160 people who work at the Tulsa plant out of a job.

Hostess says it is losing money, since the baker's union has been on strike, and it gave the union a deadline of 4 p.m. to go back to work or face losing their jobs.

Dozens of Hostess workers in Tulsa have been on the picket line since last Friday.

"Well it's sad that we have to go to it like this, but we got to do what we got to do," said union member Sherry Davison.

11/14/2012 Related Story: Striking Hostess Workers Face Thursday Afternoon Deadline

Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January, after losing $340 million in 2011. The company has said it needs to cut costs or it will go out of business.

The Baker's union voted down a new contract in September. The proposal included an 8 percent pay cut and, what the union calls, "Draconian" cuts to its health benefits.

"We're not just some greedy union workers. We all have families out here, risking mortgages, car payments, everything—put it on the line to just union, man," said Steven Metcalf.

Metcalf said he's watched how the facilities inside the Tulsa plant have steadily gone downhill.

He said it's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter and now he says the company is taking money out of its employees' paychecks and depleting their pensions.

"I got a kid out there, right now in Jenks, that's a Principal's honor roll student and I was looking for my pension to put him through college, and now I don't know," Metcalf said.

The CEO of Hostess said the company is in dire straits.

Gregory Rayburn said in a statement, "We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike," and that it's up to the union to decide if it wants to save the company or, "cause massive financial harm to thousands of employees and their families."

Union members say their resolve is strong and they have no plans to leave the picket line.

"They've just told us it's their way or the highway, but we're not doing it their way, we're not taking the highway. We're right here at 11th and Sheridan," said union member Larry Chandler.

A spokesman for Hostess told News On 6 that the company is serious about liquidating and selling its assets.

They plan to announce Friday morning whether enough employees came back to work and if they'll move forward with those plans.