December 5, 2007: Billionaire investor Ron Burkle says he has an “exclusive” deal with the Teamsters for concessions at Interstate Bakeries.
But the billionaire investor and our top officials aren’t telling the details of their plans for a takeover of the bankrupt Teamster employer.
On Nov. 30, a federal bankruptcy judge denied IBC management’s request for the details of Burkle’s secret deal with the Teamsters.
Over 9,500 Teamsters make, deliver, and sell Hostess Twinkies, Wonder Bread, and other products for the bakery. The Teamsters agreed to concessions when the company first went into bankruptcy in 2004. Now the current management says it needs even more cuts.
The IBT announced in early November that Yucaipa, an investment firm led by Burkle, and Bimbo Bakeries, a bakery based in Mexico, are moving to take over IBC with the help of the Teamsters.
“We’ve got to watch the company, and we’ve got to watch Hoffa to make sure we don’t get stabbed in the back,” said Loretta Devasier, an IBC Teamster from Louisville Local 89.
Current IBC management wants to cut wages, force members to pay $20 a week for healthcare, and implement a “path to market” distribution system that could eliminate many Teamster jobs and change work rules.
Teamster Bakery Director Rich Volpe has admitted that Yucaipa will ask for concessions in the current Teamster contracts—but no one is saying what these cuts will be.