Friday, April 18, 2014
The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — Several hundred workers at a Hostess plant in northeast Philadelphia are off the job, honoring picket lines by the bakers' union at the bankrupt company's plants.
The Philadelphia Inquirer said about 330 workers at the Philadelphia plant have joined several dozen workers from Maine who arrived to picket. Hostess operates a bakery and distribution center in Biddeford, with about 370 workers.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union says Friday's walkout began after Hostess Brands Inc. imposed a contract that cuts wages and benefits by 27 to 32 percent, with an immediate 8 percent wage reduction.
Only some Hostess workers are free to strike, according to a union fact sheet, but the existing contract allows striking workers to set up picket lines at other plants, and workers at those plants can honor the picket lines.
Thousands of workers are protesting the company’s action across the country, James Condran, an international union representative who was at the Philadelphia plant, told the paper.
Hostess, which makes Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Ding Dongs, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
Hostess Brands Inc. acknowledged "tough" concessions but urged workers to remain on the job "to rebuild the company."
Hostess also warned that a prolonged strike would mean mass layoffs.