5:49 PM EST, November 13, 2012
Production has slowed down at Hostess plants in Columbus and Indianapolis as a labor fight continues between union workers and the company. The company has already shut down three plants in other states where there were picket lines.
Workers set up picket lines again Tuesday, disrupting the company’s ability to produce goods in Columbus and Indianapolis. The Texas-based manufacturer is bankrupt and union representatives are upset over its plan to emerge from bankruptcy.
"Yesterday, I lost not quite half. Today, a little under a half," said Kevin Townsend, a representative with another union and longtime Hostess employee.
He has been driving a truck for Hostess for 30 years.
"There are a lot of people who are worried and concerned," said Dennis Howard, a representative with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.
According to Hostess, the strike puts its operations in Indiana at risk. The company said it will be forced to liquidate its assets unless the strike ends.
Many members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) local in Indianapolis are honoring the picket lines. Hostess said it’s using members of other unions and some BCTGM workers who’ve crossed the picket lines.
"We're using managers, members of other unions, and non-union employees to keep things running," said Erik Halvorson, a Hostess Brands spokesman.
He continued, "We think this company is very much worth saving. We think it could have a really bright future, but we need our employees on board.”
Workers are upset over pay cuts, the suspension of pension payments and cutbacks in health care benefits. They went on strike Friday to protest a new contract offer that was rejected earlier this year.
"They're going to have to worry no matter what," said Howard.
In May, Hostess warned the state of Indiana that it might have to halt operations in 21 Indiana communities as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy.