TULSA - Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is going out of business.
Hostess Brands Inc. announced Friday that it is winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities.
Among the plant closures is the Tulsa Wonder Bread bakery, according to the company's website , which employs about 160 workers.
The decision comes a little more than 12 hours after strikers nationwide ignored an ultimatum issued by Hostess bosses to return to work by 5 p.m. ET or risk losing their jobs.
“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”
The liquidation means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.
At the focus of the week-long strike was a new contract that workers believed would cut their wages, pensions and benefits.
Before Friday's announcement, Tulsa's strikers believed they could secure a better deal from new owners should the company liquidate.
"Well if they liquidate, we feel like we get a better deal with the new people that come in," said Fred Frierson, local union leader. "Somebody's going to buy it. So somebody is going to pick that volume up that's out there and we feel like we'll be able to come up with a better deal than we have now."
In addition to dozens of baking and distribution facilities around the country, Hostess Brands will sell its popular brands, including Hostess, Drakes and Dolly Madison, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies, CupCakes, Ding Dongs, Ho Ho’s, Sno Balls and Donettes. Bread brands to be sold include Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Merita, Home Pride, Butternut and Beefsteak, among others.
For employees whose jobs are being eliminated, additional information can be found at www.hostessbrands.info . The website also contains information for customers and vendors.
According to the company, most employees who lose their jobs should be eligible for government-provided unemployment benefits.
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