GST Hall: 'Company Must Stop Maligning Workers In Media Blitz And Get Serious'
WASHINGTON, April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Teamsters Union remains ready and willing to resume negotiations with Hostess Brands Inc. executives in an attempt to save the company following the agreement in bankruptcy court Friday that a decision would not be handed down before May 1.
"We want to try to save Hostess and workers' jobs," said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall. "We want an agreement. And we remain ready and willing, as we have all along, to negotiate in good faith. We hope the company, which has been dragging its feet and engaging in regressive bargaining, is finally serious too."
However, while key developments were occurring in bankruptcy court yesterday, Hostess CEO Greg Rayburn was engaged in a FOX News media blitz in an attempt to malign Hostess workers and their promised pensions, blaming them for the company's demise.
Those very workers have sacrificed time and again to save the company while executives plundered it, giving themselves raises of up to 240 percent before declaring bankruptcy and halting payments to workers' pension plans.
"The company has a disturbing habit of trying to negotiate through the media and play the blame game, pointing fingers at its own workers instead of taking responsibility for mismanagement and looting," Hall said.
Hostess workers have already taken cuts in pay and benefits totaling $110 million. The Teamsters' most recent proposal contains $150 million more a year in further savings.
"Where has all the money gone? The sad truth is that after all these sacrifices, Hostess has refused to make any payments into its own workers' pension plans since August," Hall said.
"Hostess telling pension plans how to operate is like a deadbeat dad giving parenting advice," Hall said. "This is not the way to come to an agreement. It is time for Hostess executives to realize that the only way to get an agreement is to keep their negotiating dates and meet directly with the union."
The Teamsters Union maintains that any agreement must contain equality of sacrifice among all employees – union, non-union, management and executives.
Also, there must be some structural changes to the company to help ensure that executives do not keep squandering the money that workers continue to give back in concessions. Those savings cannot continue to be siphoned off by executives in the form of big raises. The money must go back into the company to strengthen it and to make it operate more efficiently and effectively, to ensure it does not declare bankruptcy a third time.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hard-working men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico including more than 7,500 employees of Hostess Brands, Inc. Go to www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @teamsterpower.