Local Workers React To Hostess Closing

(Memphis) The maker of Twinkies says it’s closing but its workers say they were the last to know.

About 250 people in Memphis are expected to lose their jobs when Hostess closes its doors.

The company’s CEO announced Friday it has to shut down after a prolonged worker’s strike.

“It’s like my home. It`s like my house right there,” said Lavell Featherson.

Lavell Featherson says he’s worked at the Monroe plant for the last 18 years and supports his entire family with the job.

But he may soon move from the picket line to the unemployment one.

“What are you going to do?” asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.

“Do like everybody else and survive,” said Featherson. “That’s what I got to do. I can’t just lay down.”

Hostess, that makes Wonderbread, Twinkies and Ding Dongs, says it’s going out of business because of the nationwide worker’s strike collapsed the company.

“Why would you expect Greg Rayburn (Hostess CEO) to except blame for the fact that he has run this company into the ground and destroyed the confidence of these workers,” said James Rivers, the Regional Baker’s Union Vice President.

Rivers says the workers have been in dispute with the company’s labor contract because they don’t like the way the company’s been run.

Hostess filed for bankruptcy in 2004, came out of it in 2009 and filed again in January this year.

“This has been a baking company and these people that have run the company know the baking business. Greg Rayburn does not,” said Rivers. “All he knows about is the money business.”

Rivers believeve it’s always been the CEO’s plan to liquidate the company.

As word spread of the looming closure, sugar lovers around Memphis made a b-line to the Hostess thrift store downtown.

“As soon as I left the door I started getting texts – ‘Hey! you are going to the Hostess store?’ ‘Get me this’. ‘Get me that’. ‘Get me this’,” said Kris Gurly, who picked up goodies for his co-workers, family and friends.

“Are you worried there will be no more Twinkies?” asked Hall.

“It will probably be better for me,” said Gurly.

The bakers union rep says if the company is truly shutting down, the next step for workers is to file for unemployment and hopefully they can get their jobs back when a new owner takes over.

See previous story about the Hostess strike in Memphis

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