850 Indiana workers losing jobs as Hostess crumbles

2012-11-16T18:26:00Z 2012-11-25T21:14:41Z 850 Indiana workers losing jobs as Hostess crumblesDiane Poulton Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 16, 2012 6:26 pm  • 

HIGHLAND | While watching the morning news Friday, Cathy Faucault learned her husband, a Teamster’s Union member and driver for Hostess Brands Inc., was losing his job.

Faucault’s husband is one of 850 Indiana workers losing their jobs as Hostess closes.

Bryan Faucault completed his route early Friday, spending the rest of the day on the computer looking for job opportunities and perusing human resource forms from the company, Cathy Faucault said.

Complicating matters for the Highland couple, who have an 18-year-old daughter preparing for college and a 13-year-old autistic son, will be the loss of insurance benefits. The Faucaults spend more than $100 a month on medications for their son.

When Cathy Faucault lost her job 10 years ago, she chose to stay home, tending to her son’s special needs and earning some money selling items on eBay.

Irving, Texas-based Hostess, famous for its Twinkie and Wonder Bread products, said a nationwide worker strike crippled its ability to make and deliver its products.

Hostess has said production at about a dozen of the company's 33 plants has been seriously affected by the strike. Three plants were closed earlier this week.

Faucault believes part of the problem has been the Bakery Union refusal to take concessions in their wages and benefits.

“To me it is common sense to take an 8 percent pay cut rather than a 100 percent pay cut,” Faucault said.

Hostess, whose brands also include Ding Dongs and Dolly Madison, said on its website 18,500 workers are being laid off nationwide and the company’s brands are up for sale.

Local retail outlets in Hammond, Munster, Merrillville, Michigan City and Hobart are slated to remain open for several days to sell off inventory, according to a statement on the Hostess website. Plants in Columbus, Ind., and Indianapolis also are closing.

At the Hostess Thrift Shop in Merrillville, employees' moods were somber as they faced the impending loss of their jobs. None wanted to talk about it. Employees said long lines filled the store all day long, and customers received one product free with each one purchased.

The mood among customers stocking up on their favorite snacks ranged from somber to nostalgic.

Janice Brewer, of Schererville, said it is sad to see the brand folding.

“It is horrible,” said Gino Minotti, of Dyer. “Forget the cupcakes; the (workers) are losing their jobs.”

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