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After the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) declined the last/best/final proposal from Hostess Brands by 92%, Hostess Brands began seeking a legal means to force members of the union to accept a deal it has rejected by an overwhelming majority, or it says it will have no choice but to liquidate the company. Hostess filed for bankruptcy protection in January, citing pension and medical benefit obligations, restructure work rules and tough trading conditions, and has been pursuing new collective bargaining agreements with union employees since then.
Union members in every region of the country and every segment of the company's operations overwhelmingly opposed the proposal. In many locations, the vote to reject the proposal was unanimous.
BCTGM International president Frank Hurt states, "Throughout this entire bankruptcy process, I have been crystal clear with Hostess management that our members will determine the outcome. On Aug. 14, the company presented to us their last, best, final and non-negotiable offer, which we sent to our local unions. The results speak for themselves. Contrary to CEO [Greg] Rayburn's disingenuous and erroneous public comments, our members did not reject this proposal because of 'bad information' from the International Union. They rejected it because it was an outrageously unfair proposal from a company that has destroyed the trust of its workers through years of mismanagement, greed and unfulfilled promises.”
Hurt adds that union members have seen the company “squander more than $50 million that it was contractually obligated to put towards its members' pensions.” He also says they saw the company fail to invest in product development and new plant and equipment as promised by the company when it emerged from previous bankruptcy and for which members made significant concessions.
“We encourage Hostess Brands to pay the $50 million in pension contributions it owes our members and come to the bargaining table with a fair and reasonable proposal for its workers and a legitimate business plan that provides the foundation for a future world-class wholesale baking company and not fatter bank accounts for Wall Street investors," Hurt says.
More information is available at www.BCTGM.org.