Hostess Brands

Hostess Brands CEO Gregory Rayburn spoke with FOX Business Network (FBN) about closing three plants down today and what that means for the future of the company. When asked about the future of Hostess Brands, Rayburn said, “I think it’s really up to those workers that are on the picket lines today that are not coming to work. If they decide in a very short order – and I am talking days, not weeks – to come back to work, then we have a platform, we can survive an exit. If they don’t, I think it’s highly unlikely we go forward as an operating concern.”

On what the chances are that Hostess Brands disappears:

“I think it’s really up to those workers that are on the picket lines today that are not coming to work. If they decide in a very short order – and I am talking days, not weeks – to come back to work, then we have a platform, we can survive an exit. If they don’t, I think it’s highly unlikely we go forward as an operating concern.”

On whether the shutting down of three plants today was a threat following the bakers union strikes:

“I have never said it as a threat, I have always said it as a consequence. The business could not withstand any significant material work stoppage or strike. We said that to our unions, our teamsters supported the plan. Our other unions, some of them support the plan, non-union supports it. The bakers union does not, but we had said if you go out on strike, we would likely have to wane down the entire business.”

On whether closing the plants is a retaliatory measure:

“No not at all. We just don’t have the manpower to cover all 36 bakeries. The bakers called for a nationwide strike on Friday. The reality is that we didn’t get strikes at about a third of our plants and then another two thirds had picket lines but at half of those, enough bakers union employees crossed the picket lines to maintain normal operations so it is really down to a third of our plants and some critical plants where we are manning with management team. We don’t have enough people to go around to keep all those running.”

On whether he is far apart from what the bakers are counter offering:

“We are not far apart because there is nothing being discussed. Their leadership has not countered with anything. In fact they stopped returning our phone calls several weeks ago. Their leadership has called for the employees to strike and frankly if you ask the employees why you’re striking and what it is you want, maybe they’d tell you they want a better deal but the reality is that there is no way I can do a better deal for some thirty-percent of our workforce that is better than the seventy-percent of our workforce is getting. That doesn’t work.”

On what the bakers main opposition is:

“I firmly believe the bakers’ leadership is willing to sacrifice these 5,800 bakery employees at Hostess Brands so that they don’t have to deal with these types of concession demands from other competitors or other companies that employ bakers unions. Otherwise there is no rationality to striking just to strike. I think they want to have the business liquidated and that tells me they really don’t care about these employees’ jobs.”