Union Members Approve Hostess Cuts - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Union Members Approve Hostess Cuts

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ALEXANDRIA, La. - We brought you the story of Hostess brands company at risk of liquidation. But Friday, the votes of Teamster union members have been tallied, and they've approved the cuts proposed by the CEO.

That sweet smell that pumps out of the chimney's at Holsum Bakery just off South MacArthur drive, has become a familiar part of life in Alexandria.

But recent signs of disagreements within the parent company, Hostess Brands, were threatening to shut down the ovens here for good.

Hostess Brands filed bankruptcy this year. So, the CEO has asked union members to approve a series of cuts to keep the company baking. But in order to do that, it would mean salary and pension plan cuts, and that's something workers said they didn't want.

But in a vote late Friday afternoon, Teamster union members decided to approve the cuts. That's something many employees are surprised about.

Leigh Strope, Teamster: "Our Teamster members have sacrificed a lot over the years to help hostess return to profitability. They've endured two rounds of concessions, big pay cuts. The company has since gone into bankruptcy a second time, due to mismanagement, and company officials have once again looked to its workforce to take cuts."

Teamster officials say while they didn't endorse the proposed cuts from Hostess, they encouraged their members to educate themselves before voting.

Strope: "We believe in the democratic process, and we want our members to have that say in what happens to their jobs."

Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn has said he's looking to liquidate the company if his plan wasn't approved. Employees we spoke with who didn't want to go on camera say they believe that was just a bluff.

Still, they admit that besides the sweet smell coming from the Holsum bakery, there's now something else that hangs in the air that they don't like--fear of impending wage cuts...and maybe more down the road.

We tried to get in contact with Holsum Bread execs and the corporate office of Hostess, but they couldn't be reached for comment.

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