Nearly 200 jobs in Connecticut are now on the chopping block after Hostess announced it would move to end its business after employees across the country went on strike.
Hostess officials threatened to liquidate the entire company after the bakers union went on strike last week. The union had been entangled in a bitter battle with Hostess, which is privately owned by two hedge funds.
"We deeply regret the necessity of [Thursday's] decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."
Workers said they refused to accept diminished health benefits and wage cuts as part of the company plan to reorganize after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy nearly a year ago.
"I'm kind of numb," said Peter Holden, who worked for Hostess for 27 years. "I don't know what else to say. It's kind of a shock. We kind of expected it, but we didn't know that it was going to happen, per se."
Holden said he found out the news while he was out on the road making deliveries. He was told that when he was finished making his rounds, he would be left without a job.
"We kind of expected it but didn't know it was going to happen per se. Got word while on the road this morning," Holden said. "Tough to come in to work, walk away and not have to come back again."
An estimated 18,000 people have been left unemployed.
"I went to school for electrical," said former Hostess employee Rob Morano. "I had a job before Wonderbread and I'll have a job after. I'm not too worried."
The wind down now means 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States will be closed. Stores will remain open until each sells out of product.
"Our fate was in someone else's hands unfortunately,"said Morano, who was one of the 32 drivers at distribution center in Uncasville.
The decision has also left several local fans of Hostess products searching for their favorite snack treat.
"It was a shock, with 6 kids we always come here," said Kerry Davis of Montville. "I'm stocking up, getting what I can and everybody else is."
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