The Wonder Hostess Bakery Outlet in El Dorado will be closing its doors on Monday, possibly sooner, after Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, announced it will be closing its operation and laying off 18,500 employees.
Last week, thousands of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike after rejecting the company's latest contract offer. The bakers union represents about 30 percent of the company's workforce.
Workers were warned unless they ended the strike and returned to work by the end of the day Thursday, the company would liquidate, which they did not do.
“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer, in a statement from Hostess. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”
The company filed a motion to liquidate Friday with U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The shuttering means the loss of about 18,500 jobs. Hostess said employees at its 33 factories were sent home and operations suspended. Its roughly 500 bakery outlet stores will stay open for several days to sell remaining products.
The El Dorado location had employed three people, but that had already been reduced to one employee as of Friday.
The local store will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, with Monday being their last official day of business. An employee said if they sell out of everything before Monday, they will not open the store that day.
In a statement, the bakery union said Hostess failed because the six management teams over the past eight years weren't able to make it profitable — not because workers didn't make concessions.
"Despite a commitment from the company after the first bankruptcy that the resources derived from the workers' concessions would be plowed back into the company, this never materialized," the union said.
In addition to dozens of baking and distribution facilities around the country, Hostess Brands will sell its popular brands, including Hostess®, Drakes® and Dolly Madison®, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs®, Ho Ho’s®, Sno Balls® and Donettes®. Bread brands to be sold include Wonder®, Nature’s Pride ®, Merita®, Home Pride®, Butternut®, and Beefsteak®, among others.