Hostess workers picket over possible wage cuts

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Workers at an east side bakery are picketing the company over fears of impending wage cuts.

For the second time in eight years, the company that owns Hostess, the makers of Wonder Bread, Twinkies and other snacks, is in bankruptcy. Union members are being asked by the company to take benefits and wage cuts, or the bakery will close.

Jeanette Seats spent 31 years inside the bakery before retiring. Her pension from the union is intact, but those around her on the picket line Saturday might not be so lucky.

"Right now, they are talking about liquidation," Seats said.

The average hourly wage is $15 an hour at the bakery. The union says management is stripping the company and running.

"The business is very much small profit margins, high labor cost. So if you cannot reduce your hourly cost and if you cannot reduce your healthcare expenses, then you just can't compete. The profit margins just aren't big enough," said UIndy professor Dr. Matt Will.

A spokesman for the company told Eyewitness News if the strike is not settled soon, they plan on liquidating.

"What these pickets are doing is a very, very dangerous thing, not just for their own jobs, but the jobs of those of their colleagues, who are staying with their jobs and trying to revive the company," said Lance Ignon.

Back on the picket lines, drivers in passing cars still blow their horns in support, but for how long?

"It is their final offer and they have presented this as an offer that would keep them in business, when actually, all it is gonna do is put more money in their pockets, take more money out of the workers' pockets and they are gonna sell it anyway," said one of the picketers.