Union workers at Hostess go on strike in Peoria and around country

By Audrey Williams

November 9, 2012 Updated Nov 9, 2012 at 11:33 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Many union employees at Peoria's Hostess plant are out of the factory and on strike.

Members of The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco workers and Grain millers International Union walked out of the plant around 8:00 Friday night.

They are joining a strike by BCTGM union employees at Hostess plants across the country. Starting at noon Friday union workers walked out at Hostess' in Kansas, Maine, Indiana and Ohio.

According to a union handout, workers gave major wage and benefit concessions to the company in 2004 when the company went bankrupt.

After emerging from bankruptcy under new ownership, the company once again asked for concessions in 2011.

When workers refused the company filed for bankruptcy again in January of this year, and in bankruptcy court the company demanded wage and benefit cuts.

On the company's website a statement was posted saying in part - "A widespread strike will cause Hostess Brands to liquidate if we are unable to produce or deliver products. If that's the case, the company will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,300-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders. We know the concessions are tough, but it would make more sense for unhappy employees to simply leave the company voluntarily than to strike and cause the company to close down, forcing everyone to lose their jobs."

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