The maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread heads to court Tuesday to try to throw out its union contracts, in a battle that leaves the iconic baker’s future very much in doubt.
Hostess Brands, which makes Ding Dongs and a variety of other sweet treats, is asking the bankruptcy court in White Plains, N.Y. to tear up labor agreements, which would, among other things, allow Hostess to change how it funds union pensions. The hearing is expected to last two days.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, together represent more than three-quarters of the 18,500 workers at the company.
The Teamsters have vowed to strike if the judge agrees with management’s request and dumps the labor deals.
But both management and the unions agree that the company is unlikely to survive a strike.
“We would no longer have cash to keep operating,” said Hostess management in a letter sent to employees on Monday. “All Hostess Brands operations would shut down and liquidation would begin. The 18,500 jobs, plus the health insurance that comes with them, would be lost for good.”
The company filed for bankruptcy in January, it’s second trip to bankruptcy court since 2004. And management has said that the investors who are financing the company during bankruptcy would pull out if there is a strike.