Empty shelves at the Hostess outlet in Shawnee, KS. Bonyen Lee/KCTV
LENEXA, KS (KCTV) -
Two hundred jobs are gone for employees in Lenexa after Hostess has closed all of its plants nationwide. The closure is centered around a battle in the employee union.
Picketers stood on the line at the Hostess factory after the announcement Friday only as a show of solidarity, supporting each other in a decision that's cost 18,500 jobs. Union members said this is about making a stand for the working class just as it was about holding the financial line.
"It is devastating. There's a lot of jobs at stake but, on the other hand, enough is enough. You can only take so much, at some point you have to stand up and do what's right," Conrad Boos, a union member for Bakery International Union said.
Boos voted to disapprove a contract with Hostess that would have cut wages by 8 percent, increased healthcare costs by 20 percent, eliminated pension supplements and the eight-hour work day.
"Everybody that works here had a dog in the fight," Boos said.
The "everybody" he referred to included Teamsters Union members who approved their contract and continued to work through the strike.
"This was the first time I ever crossed the picket line in my life," Teamsters Union member Roy Stufflebean said.
The company announced it's liquidating its assets after Bakery Union members did not end their strike by a 4 p.m. deadline Thursday. The 18,500 jobs lost is a sacrifice Bakery Union member said was a tough call, but the sacrifice has the support of fellow union members like Stufflebean.
"They didn't buy new equipment like they promised. All they did was give bonuses to the bigger guys, so it was a matter of the big guys getting the money and we're getting poorer," he said.
The CEO of Hostess said he hopes to find a buyer for some of the company's brands, like Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, but some Twinkie lovers are stocking up while they can.
Boxes of Twinkies are flying off the shelves at metro grocery stores and the bakery outlet at the Lenexa plant has seen a steady flow of costumers buying up products at a steep discount.
Scott Matteson filled five bags full of his Hostess favorites.
"I just wanted to come up here one last time and take a trip through the store. Smell that good baked bread smell. It's unfortunate what's going on," he said.
Matteson grew up eating Hostess products, from Wonder Break to Twinkies. The Hostess announcement about liquidating its assets is a little mark in history for Kansas Citians.
"I'm not sure what the union employees were thinking, I'm not dinging the unions or anything, but 18,000 people are now out of work," Matteson said.
Grocery stores stocked shelves with the last of Hostess products and one store guessed they had a week left of inventory.
"I came here to get a box. I was already at one store and they were all sold out," Matteson said.
Union members and customers alike expect another company will take over the brand, although there is no official signs of revival at this time.
Hostess was an already struggling company when the strike happened. It filed for its second bankruptcy earlier this year. Workers said, since the company's first bankruptcy in 2009, union members were forced to take a $10 a week pay cut.
Hostess has been producing 500 million Twinkies a year.
The "Save our Twinkies" hashtag was trending on Twitter Friday. It's a petition local radio host Danny Boi started in hopes of getting the White House to respond.
Click here for the petition to nationalize the Twinkie industry.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:30 AM EDT2014-04-16 09:30:07 GMT
A Good Samaritan shot six times trying to stop a robbery says he never got a penny from a fund set up in his name. It's been a year and Yousaf Haroon still doesn't know how much was raised or where thatMore >
A Good Samaritan shot six times trying to stop a robbery says he never got a penny from a fund set up in his name, but he isn't bitter. More >
Friday, April 11 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-04-11 22:08:56 GMT
A year-long, multi-agency investigation resulted in the arrest of 28 people for charges ranging from murder to racketeering. Law enforcement officers from the Baton Rouge Police Department, East BatonMore >
A year-long, multi-agency investigation resulted in the indictment of 28 people for charges ranging from murder to racketeering.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:44:38 GMT
Lisa Teachman is joining KCTV5 as a meteorologist and traffic reporter."I am so excited and thrilled to be working with the most accurate weather team in Kansas City," Teachman said. An on-air meteorologistMore >
Lisa Teachman is joining KCTV5 as a meteorologist and traffic reporter. She debuts on It's Your Morning next week. More >
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:39:56 GMT
Often times it's tough for soldiers returning home from service to get re-established in their community and it can be especially difficult for injured soldiers to adjust. That's why there's Homes forMore >
Homes for Heroes, a program that helps injured soldiers get free homes, helped one Kansas City soldier Tuesday. More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 2:06 PM EDT2014-04-16 18:06:48 GMT
An ailing Miley Cyrus has canceled her concert Tuesday night at Sprint Center.The notice came a matter of hours before she was scheduled to go on stage.A concert promoter tells KCTV5 that Cyrus is in theMore >
An ailing Miley Cyrus remains in a Kansas City hospital and says she must cancel her St. Louis concert slated for Wednesday night. This comes after she unexpectedly canceled her Tuesday night concert in Kansas City. More >
Tuesday, April 15 2014 9:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 01:02:36 GMT
(Source: WBZ-TV CBS Boston)
A little more than five hours ago the world paused to remember those lost in the Boston Marathon bombings exactly one year ago, but this evening the area is on lockdown because of a suspicious backpackMore >
Boston police said they're investigating a report of two suspicious backpacks near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.More >
Monday, April 14 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-04-14 19:09:11 GMT
A shooting has occurred at the Jewish community center in Overland Park. This was reported about 1 p.m. Sunday at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, according to an Overland Park FireMore >
WATCH LIVE AT 11:30 A.M: A 14-year-old boy and his grandfather were killed along with a female during shootings at two Jewish-related locations in the Kansas City area. The accused killer is a white supremacist and appeared to yell an anti-Semitic phrase when taken into custody. More >
Saturday, April 12 2014 6:07 AM EDT2014-04-12 10:07:09 GMT
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral. A mother humpback whale and her calf were cruising just offshore when a set rolled in. J.T. Gray of NorthMore >
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral.More >