DENVER — They are American icons. Hostess treats like Twinkies, Suzy Q’s, Ho Hos, Snoballs and Zingers.
The company that makes those goodies along with Wonder Bread is closed, driven out of business during a labor dispute.
People in Denver and across the country flocked to Wonder Bread Hostess stores upon hearing the news.
“Just wanted to try to get the last Twinkie. It’s a madhouse in there and Twinkies are flying off the shelves,” Bob Anderson said at the store at 62nd Ave. near I-25.
All day long the lines were out the door. Workers kept restocking shelves that kept getting emptied.
“Crazy. It was crazy waiting in line and as you go around the corner you just keep adding more and more and more,” says customer Mary Doll.
But the reality for 18,000 employees nationwide: No more jobs the week before Thanksgiving.
“The company has shut down. There’s been no further notice to any of the families which is leaving families out in the cold,” says Leslie Moseley, whose mother and fiancée lost their jobs at the Denver bakery.
Two unions disagreed about an eight percent pay cut proposed by the company that is in bankruptcy. One of the unions representing bakers went on strike.
The strike forced Hostess to go out of business according to management.
“We accepted the contract and we wanted to go through with it and said ‘hey we need the job because an eight percent cut is better than a 100 percent cut,’” says Sean, who lost his job Friday.
“The bakers are the ones that did this to this company,” says another fired worker. “Everybody voted to take the pay cut and keep our jobs almost nationwide. It’s just the bakers that went on strike.”
Once proud makers of Wonder Bread, roughly 200 employees at the Denver facility along I-25 are looking at a bleak holiday.
“Everybody here isn’t happy about it and, you know, I feel for all their families too,” says employee Eric Ladley. “You know everybody else has got families too. It’s going to be a rough season.
“It’s sad. It’s really sad especially right before the holidays,” customer Mary Doll says.