Brian Hickey, IUOE general secretary-treasurer and business manager of Local 399, has issued a statement regarding the recent decision by Hostess Brands to shut down its operations. The local represents 130 maintenance engineers at Hostess. Following is the text of the press release.
For Immediate Release
November 18, 2012
The International Union of Operating Engineers represents 130 maintenance engineers working at Hostess facilities across the country
Friday’s announcement that Hostess Brands plans to shut down operations for good caught many Americans by surprise.
What they still don’t know is that thousands of hard working men and women have been fighting to save the iconic brand from failing for years – the same men and women who Hostess management is now trying to blame for its demise.
Through gross mismanagement and naked greed, Hostess Brands is the latest example of vulture capitalists run amok.
The company’s unionized workforce, including 130 maintenance engineers represented by IUOE, have worked through two different bankruptcies in the past 10 years and taken huge cuts to wages and benefits to keep the company afloat.
They also saw the company unilaterally stop paying any of its employee pension obligations, in violation of federal labor law.
“To blame the workers at Hostess for this catastrophe is a half-baked talking point conceived by the same Wall Street vultures who are walking away with millions for destroying yet another American business,” said Brian Hickey, IUOE general secretary-treasurer and business manager of IUOE Local 399, which represents some of the Hostess workers.
“The Hostess workers have been through a lot, but they still believe in the brand and are still fighting for their company. We will continue to fight right alongside,” Hickey added.
The IUOE leadership and staff have been heavily involved in contract negotiations prior to and throughout the bankruptcy proceedings.
The IUOE is encouraging union families and the general public to support the Hostess workers by signing a pledge at http://go.aflcio.org/Hostess-Greed.
The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) represents more than 400,000 members in 123 local unions across the U.S. and Canada, including operating engineers who work as heavy equipment operators, mechanics, surveyors in the construction industry; stationary engineers in building and industrial maintenance; nurses and other health care workers; and public employees.