OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Hostess is out of business. The more than 80 year old confectionary company, best known for its treats like Twinkie and Ding Dongs, closed its doors Friday.
Hostess was hurt by a consumer shift toward more wholesome, fresh products. The company says it was saddled with high pension, wage and medical costs related to its unionized workforce and cited those costs for the reason for entering into bankruptcy for the second time in less than five years.
Thousands of union members went on strike last week after rejecting a contract offer that slashed wages and benefits. Hostess had warned employees it would move to shut down its operations and sell its brands if striking workers didn't allow plants to resume normal operations by Thursday evening. The deadline passed without a deal. The closing will mean the loss of about 18,500 jobs
Jonathan Fox has been a driver for hostess for 16 years. Friday he cleaned out his truck for the last time and turned in his keys.
Fox said, "This was a great company at one time. It's too bad upper level management is turned it into what it is."
Fox says he saw this day coming, but others were holding out hope that when they got the call today it would be to return to work.
Randy Vigil said, "We didn't know anything till about 7:30 this morning the company sent out a liquidation paper that all production was to cease."
Fox said, “I was just talking to a guy back there. He's been here 25-26 years. Three months from his retirement and he's not getting his retirement he's out. How do you invest your whole life in a place and they won't give him...he was three months."
While some are blaming the bakers union, fox blames corporate greed.
"How long can corporate America support this country, especially when they go in and take our jobs from us?” asked Fox.