Daily News: January 27, 2012

Teamsters Warn Hostess Not to Misuse Bankruptcy Process


The Teamsters Union on Thursday, January 26 warned Hostess Brands Inc. not to misuse the bankruptcy process in an attempt to bully its way to unnecessary operations changes, saying a consensual resolution with sacrifices by all stakeholders is what is required.

The company filed motions on January 25 to reject its collective bargaining agreements with its major unions: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM).

While such filings are an extraordinary move by the company that has serious ramifications, there are no immediate changes to the collective bargaining agreements. The filing of the motions begins a formal negotiation and legal process. The negotiation phase is intended to bring the parties together to reach a consensual resolution. If that fails, a formal hearing is conducted in bankruptcy court where the judge ultimately decides whether or not to grant the motions.

“We are prepared to negotiate in good faith to reach a consensual agreement, as I have said repeatedly,” said the chairman of the Teamsters Bakery and Laundry Conference, Dennis Raymond, “But any agreement will be conditioned upon sacrifices by all stakeholders and an overall restructuring to make sure Hostess management doesn’t lead the company into this situation a third time. And if Hostess management thinks it can bully its way to unnecessary changes, they are sadly mistaken.”

“Though not unexpected at this point and after months of unsuccessfully dealing with management, the Teamsters remain disappointed by the company’s latest action,” added Teamsters International VP Ken Hall. “The company has struggled as it pursued misguided strategies under revolving management.

“Meanwhile, Teamster Hostess members have sacrificed greatly over the past seven years. For Hostess to pin the blame on its employees is unconscionable and demonstrates how out of touch management is with its workforce,” Hall said. “We will work hard to get a deal. But if a deal proves impossible because executives refuse to listen to reason, we will work equally hard to defend against the motions filed by the company to reject its collective bargaining agreements.”

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including more than 7,500 delivery drivers and merchandisers at Hostess.

Previously on abfjournal.com:

Hostess Receives Interim Approval to Use DIP Loan, Monday, January 16, 2012