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The company that bought the Twinkie, HoHo and Ding Dong brands out of bankruptcy is gearing up to reopen plants and hire workers, but it won’t be using union labor.
Hostess Brands LLC—Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC’s APO -2.11% new incarnation of the baking company that liquidated in Chapter 11—is reopening four bakeries in the next eight to 10 weeks, aiming to get Twinkie-deprived consumers the classic snack cake by mid-July.
Chief Executive C. Dean Metropoulos said the company will pump $60 million in capital investments into the plants between now and September and aims to hire at least 1,500 workers. But they won’t be represented by unions, including the one whose nationwide strike sparked the 86-year-old company’s decision to shut down in November.
“We do not expect to be involved in the union going forward,” Mr. Metropoulos said in an interview Wednesday.
Hostess Brands Inc., the company that filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2012 and eventually sold off its brands and plants to several buyers, was once powered by 19,000 workers, 15,000 of whom were represented by unions. The company’s largest union, the Teamsters, had agreed to a new labor contract following a contentious bankruptcy trial. But the second-largest union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union, launched a work stoppage after the company imposed new labor terms on the union’s members. Hostess said the strike crippled its operations, forcing it to shut down.
A Teamsters spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the bakers union couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
[...] Mr. Metropoulos and his son, Daren, the co-CEO of Pabst Brewing Co. who is also heading up the reborn Hostess’s marketing strategy, expressed confidence they would be able to find skilled, nonunion workers near the four plants, which are in areas with high unemployment.
“We’re trying to find the most qualified people in these local markets to come work for the company,” Daren Metropoulos said.
The new Hostess is firing up plants in Columbus, Ga.; Emporia, Kan.; Schiller Park, Ill.; and Indianapolis, Ind. It’s also considering whether to reopen a fifth plant it purchased, in Los Angeles. Previously, the Hostess products that Metropoulos and Apollo bought were made at 11 plants, but the elder Mr. Metropoulos said those plants were running at less than 50% capacity under the old model. The new Hostess plants will run at 85% to 90% capacity, making the business “as efficient as possible,” he said. The new company expects total capacity to be back to where it was before Hostess’s shutdown by September.
This is great news for #TeamTwinkie fans. I wish the company and its future 1,500 new non-union employees all the luck and success in the world. Can’t wait to see those Twinkie cakes back on the shelves in mid-July!