ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The fate of Wonder Bread and Twinkies hangs in the balance along with the future of some 18,000 workers at the Hostess snack corporation.
The company says it will liquidate and close down permanently Friday if workers continue their strike.
Unionized employees say they're fed up with reduced salaries and layoffs.
Hostess has already permanently closed its baking operation here, costing hundreds of St. Louis bakery workers their jobs. Management says the entire corporation is next. Employees say they're tired of wage cuts, layoffs, and what some call a raid on their pension plan by the company.
Hostess is in bankruptcy for the second time since 2004. The company hasn't contributed to the employee pension fund for over a year. The bankruptcy filing slashes wages and benefits. After all that, plus thousands of layoffs since 2004, the bakery workers overwhelmingly voted to strike. As soon as the strike started, Hostess retaliated and permanently shut down operations in St. Louis costing 365 jobs. They also shut operations in Cincinnati and Seattle.
Now the company says it will liquidate, go out of business completely if the strike doesn't end by Thursday's close of business.
Employees argue that the CEO of the Hedge Fund that owns most of Hostess makes a $1.5 million a year. The company responds that it's broke.
CEO Rayburn is working for a dollar a year until 2013. But right before the last bankruptcy filing, Hostess raised CEO pay from $750,000 to over $2 million a year.
We're now led to understand Hostess won't actually decide on closing the company until Friday morning.