Hostess Brands LLC - a new company created by investment firms Metropoulos & Co and Apollo Global Management - is reopening four bakeries from bankrupt Hostess Brands Inc in the next 8-10 weeks in Schiller Park, IL; Columbus, GA; Emporia, KS; and Indianapolis, IN. It's also considering whether to reopen a fifth plant in Los Angeles.
We will put together a pretty good package of pay and benefits
The firms, which snapped up the snack cake brands and some related assets for $410m earlier this year, said the Columbus factory, which had 420 people on its payroll when it closed last November, will re-open in July with 200 staff, although that figure could grow in time.
In a press conference Tuesday, Hostess Brands LLC chief executive Michael Cramer did not reveal what the hourly wage would be, but promised it would be “competitive”, adding: “We will put together a pretty good package of pay and benefits.”
A day later, however, Metropoulos & Co CEO C. Dean Metropoulos told the Wall Street Journal (click here) that the company will invest $60m in the plants in the coming weeks, but will not hire union workers.
He added: "We're trying to find the most qualified people in these local markets to come work for the company.”
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) - which called a strike after Hostess imposed new labor terms on staff last fall - said it was "extremely disappointed to see negative statements from company executives about the union status of its future employees".
President David Durkee said: "Not only have our members produced these quality products for consumers for generations, they know these bakeries inside and out.
"Federal labor law governing the hiring process and the obligations for the employer and the rights of the future employees in this situation is quite definitive. We expect that the new owners will respect the statutory rights of all workers during the hiring, startup and future of this new company."
He added: "It is our sincere hope that the new owners will fully recognize the tremendous value of hiring back our members. If, however, they do not want us as part of the future of this company, we will continue to fight for our membership through other avenues.”
Asked what "other avenues" meant during a recent press conference, Durkee said that the broader BCTGM membership could boycott Hostess products, and encourage others to follow suit.
Hostess Brands filed for a full shut down and sale of its assets last November after nationwide strikes from members of the BCTGM, who were angered by a pay-cutting deal enforced upon them as part of a recovery plan to lift Hostess out of bankruptcy.
The liquidation led to the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, around 5,500 delivery routes, 570 bakery outlet stores across the US and 18,500 job losses