Hostess Brands LLC says it will reopen its eastern Kansas bakery this summer, with the hiring of an initial 250 people already underway.
"We expect to be making and selling in July," Michael Cramer, executive vice president of Hostess Brands told NBC News on Thursday. "Probably the later half of the month before the product hits the stores."
The announcement was made Thursday by Apollo Global Management, LLC, and Metropoulos & Co., which owns Pabst Blue Ribbon and Vlasic pickles.
And something will be noticeably different about the company when it starts reopening bakeries [via ABC, emphasis added]:
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, C. Dean Metropoulos, the company’s chief executive, said that between now and September, he plans to inject $60 million in capital investments into the plants, and hopes to hire at least 1,500 workers. …
While Metropoulos did not respond to interview requests from ABC News, he told the Journal that he does “not expect to be involved in the union going forward.” …
A spokeswoman for the BCTGM did not return phone calls to ABC News. In a March statement, BTCGM president David Durkee said, “We share the enthusiasm, energy and passions exhibited by new ownership, and believe our highly-motivated and skilled workforce will serve as indispensable partners in the seamless re-opening of factories,” he said.
But, according to the Journal, Metropoulos and his son, Daren, felt confident that they would be able to hire non-union employees near the new plants.
Hundreds of people lost their jobs when Hostess, then in bankruptcy proceedings, closed the plant in Emporia last November following a strike by union bakers:
The Hostess closing left 18,000 people out of work across the country—with about 5,000 of those union members. Hiring in remodeled plants is underway. …
“The Hostess strike will be a lasting image and not for the good of unions,” said Marc Bloch, a labor and employment lawyer at Walter & Haverfield.
“I think any management team will hold up a photo to its workers of Hostess strikers and say, ‘What’s a union going to do for you?”’ Bloch said. “The case can be made that they did nothing.” …
Only 14.3 million of all workers in the U.S. currently belong to unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—just 11.3 percent of the total workforce. That’s the lowest rate in 70 years. The peak for union workers was a 35 percent rate during the mid-1950s, after a surge in unionization during the Great Depression through post-World War II.
It sounds like Hostess -- and those now associated with the company -- may have learned an important lesson from that episode.
“We are not going to invite the unions in,” Cramer said of the plans to reopen Hostess bakeries. “We don’t have to.”
Hostess Brands LLC paid $410 million for the rights to the Hostess and Dolly Madison snack cake brands, along with five plants. But Emporia City Commissioner Jon Geitz tells KVOE-AM that the reopening of the local plant hadn't been assured until Thursday.
Hostess Brands officials said they'll expand the bakery. They're aiming for total employment of about 300 people within the next few years.
Enjoy your weekend, folks.
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(H/T: Hot Air). The AP contributed to this report. Featured image Getty Images.