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Hostess Drivers Say They’re Forced To Collect Unemployment

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– Former Hostess drivers say they have jobs lined up, but they’re forced to take unemployment checks instead of working because their former employer won’t provide their records to their prospective employers. FOX 2’s Chris Hayes received a call from a man who said he had a spotless 27 year record of driving trucks.  For the first time, he said he’s drawing unemployment checks. Yet he said there’s no reason why he should need the subsidy.

The Marzucos decorated their Christmas tree with the grandkids they care for. Richard Marzuco appreciates the family time, but he wants to work.  He said there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be working. Hostess let him go November 16th.

Marzuco said, “They`re paying me unemployment to sit at home when I could be working right now.”

Chris Hayes asked, “And you want to work.”

Marzuco responded, “Yeah, I’ve been doing this for 27 years and I’ve never had any problems finding a job. That`s why I took this profession.”

He said other companies are seeking him out as a driver.  But he said those prospective employers cannot get Hostess to give up internal safety records, like Marzuco’s drug screens. The Feds demand new employers check those records for safety.

Marzuco added, “Every week they say we’ve got everything else, but we haven`t gotten your background information from Hostess yet. After all of us made such a dedication to this company and worked so hard, why wouldn`t they want to go an extra step to help us get re-employed?”

Hostess St. Louis is shuttered.  Former workers are told to fax a number in K.C. to get their records. 

“I’ve faxed it twice, with no response.  I’ve e-mailed and it bounces back.  Phone calls seem pointless.”

A voicemail message said, “Any calls regarding employee verification will not be returned…”

Jim Stuckel with Teamsters Local 688 said he’s heard it too many times. 

Stuckel said, “It`s just totally wrong. It`s taken too long. If you were given the number that we were given (and I was given to pass out), we`re told it takes between two and four weeks.”

Chris Hayes asked, “Should it take that?”

Stuckel responded, “No, it shouldn`t.”

Hayes followed up, “Shouldn`t (these records) be accessible with the touch of a button?”

Stuckel, “(They) should be, but I called up as high as I could go at the Hostess level, Wonder Bread, and I was told there was one person that is doing all 7,000 people.”

There are 7,000 former Hostess drivers throughout the country, just like Richard Marzuco.  If they have the same job prospects he does, that could mean a ton of needless unemployment checks.

FOX 2 is still waiting to hear back on my faxes, phone calls and e-mail to Hostess.  Teamsters 688 says it did get a commitment from Hostess on Thursday, December 20th, that the company will put more resources into getting these safety records to these companies that want to hire.

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