With less than five hours to go before a 4 p.m. deadline, the Teamsters Union Thursday recommended that bakers’ union members on strike against the maker of Hostess Twinkies vote by secret ballot on whether to continue their strike.
Hostess Brands has given members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers International Union until 5 p.m. Eastern time to get back to work or prompt the liquidation of the snack cake maker, which has been in bankruptcy court since January.
The bakers’ union blamed management going back several years for the company’s plight.
The strike by the second largest union at Hostess Brands has put it at odds with the Teamsters, the Irving-based company’s largest union.
In a news release Thursday, the Teamsters stressed that the company’s ultimatum “is not an empty threat or a negotiating tactic, but the certain outcome if members of the [bakers’ union members] continue to strike.
“This is based on conversations with our financial experts, who, because the Teamsters were involved in the legal process, had access to financial information about the company.”
The Teamsters’ release talked about the efforts by that union to work with current management to craft a solution to the company’s financial woes.
“The [bakers union] chose a different path, as is their prerogative, to not substantively look for a solution or engage in the process. [Bakers union] members were told there were better solutions than the final [contract] offer, although Judge Drain stated in his decision in bankruptcy court that no such solutions exist.
“Without complete information, [bakers union] members voted by voice votes in union halls. The [bakers union] reported that over 90 percent rejected the final offer and three of its units ratified the final offer.
“As is our longstanding tradition, Teamster members by and large are honoring bakery worker picket lines when encountered and complying with their contractual obligations when not encountering picket lines.
“The [bakers’ union] leaders are putting Teamster members in a horrible position – asking them to support a strike that will put them out of a job when they haven’t even asked all their members to go on strike.”