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Hostess Brands Inc. bakery outlets sell the company’s best-known brands as well as other products.
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Hostess: No immediate plans for employee layoffs

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

There are no apparent immediate plans to lay off Hostess Brands Inc. employees starting this week, according to company spokesman Lance Ignon.

“The goal is to restructure Hostess and come out of Chapter 11 as a stronger company,” Ignon said Thursday.

The company had filed a notice with the state in May indicating a possible layoff starting Saturday.

Hostess Brands, maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Suzy Q’s, Cupcakes, Sno Balls, Donettes and other products, filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws in January in New York. The company is based in Irving, Texas.

Ignon said Thursday that the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filing with the state in May was a legal requirement that plant closings and layoffs could occur, “but it was completely conditional.”

The Florida WARN filing indicated that Hostess might lay off 340 statewide employees, including 185 in Northeast Florida at eight bakery outlets and at the North Florida manufacturing plant.

The notices listed the layoff dates as July 7-21.

Hostess Brands issued a statement at the time that it mailed conditional WARN notices to all 18,500 employees around the country that a sale or wind down of the company was possible in the future during the restructuring under Chapter 11.

“However, our goal is still to emerge from bankruptcy as a growing company and there are no immediate actions being taken to sell or wind down the company. We are simply fulfilling our requirements by sending these notices,” said the statement at that time.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act took effect in 1989.

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the WARN procedure “offers protection to workers, their families and their communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.”

The department said the notice must be provided to affected workers or their representatives, such as a labor union; to the state dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government.

In general, employers are covered by WARN if they have 100 or more employees, not counting employees who have worked less than six of the prior 12 months and not counting employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week.

Private for-profit employers and private nonprofit employers are covered. Also covered are public and quasi-public entities, which operate in a commercial context and are separately organized from the regular government.

Regular federal, state, and local government entities, which provide public services, are not covered.

Employees entitled to notice under WARN include hourly and salaried workers, as well as managerial and supervisory employees.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

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