Twinkies snack maker to close, cites US strike

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Associated Press

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 8:02 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 16 at 8:33 AM

IRVING, Texas (AP) — The maker of the iconic U.S. snack Twinkies said Friday it is going out of business and laying off all of its 18,500 workers after a national strike crippled its operations.

The company, founded in 1930, was fighting battles beyond labor costs. Competition is increasing in the snack space, and Americans are increasingly conscious about healthy eating.

Hostess Brands had warned employees that it would file a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to unwind its business and sell assets if plant operations didn't return to normal levels by Thursday evening.

The privately held Texas company filed for protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade.

"Many people have worked incredibly long and hard to keep this from happening, but now Hostess Brands has no other alternative than to begin the process of winding down and preparing for the sale of our iconic brands," CEO Gregory F. Rayburn said in a letter to employees posted on the company website.

He added that all employees will eventually lose their jobs, "some sooner than others."

Thousands of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike last week after rejecting in September a contract offer that cut wages and benefits. Hostess had already reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Hostess has said that production at about a dozen of the company's 33 plants had been seriously affected by the strike. Three plants were closed earlier this week.

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