Call it “A Tale of Two Companies’ Recipes.” One that respects its skilled unionized workforce to preserve the quality of its products and another that is willing to cut corners and cash in on its newly acquired but once iconic name.
The two companies are the U.S. Baking Company and Hostess Brands, LLC.
The MTD, its affiliates and Port Maritime Councils stand with a united labor movement in urging justice for the workers who had been employed by Hostess. Rather than deal honestly with them, the company declared bankruptcy with its brand name sold at bankruptcy auction to what has become a non-union corporation.
As David B. Durkee, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), noted, “Hostess Brands, LLC, is expected to re-enter the wholesale snack cake market. Despite the fanfare, the long-term viability of this effort is highly uncertain. Rather than hire professional, experienced bakers who have produced quality snack cakes in the company’s bakeries for decades, Hostess management has chosen instead to hire primarily workers with little or no experience in the demanding wholesale snack cake baking industry.
Compare Hostess’ approach to that taken by the U.S. Baking Company, a 107-year old wholesale bread and cake company based in Portland, Oregon, which bought the former Hostess assets in the Northwest. U.S. baking, with which the BCTGM has had a longstanding collective bargaining relationship, decided that the most effective way to achieve a seamless re-entry into the marketplace was to reopen the former Hostess bakery in Billings, Montana, with the union members who knew the product and the bakery the best.
“The BCTGM and U.S. Baking recently negotiated a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement and the bakery is up and running, producing high-quality products. In fact, the workers there are earning more in wages in the first year of the contract than they were when Hostess closed the bakery last year.
“Last year’s demise of Hostess was due in large measure to critical mistakes made by a series of management teams that simply did not have any meaningful experience in the wholesale bread and cake baking business. To avoid the same fate, the BCTGM encourages the two private equity firms that own Hostess Brands, LLC to change their approach and work with our union and our members in a cooperative manner. This is their best hope for long-term success.
“As the process moves forward, the BCTGM remains committed to taking all appropriate and necessary steps to protect the rights of our members and all Hostess Brands workers.”