Hostess employees question what's to come after strike deadline passes

11:11 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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The deadline for the nationwide Hostess worker strike has passed, but on Thursday, workers here at home and across the country still have no answers.

Dozens of people have been picketing outside the Merita bread bakery here in Knoxville this week. They're upset over a 30 percent pay cut, and reductions to pensions and benefits.

Hostess gave all the workers until 5 o'clock on Thursday to go back to work. The company has said if that didn't happen, they may have to liquidate everything.

"I would like for us to be a profitable company. I would like for Hostess to not take our pension away, not ask for another 8 percent, I can't afford with the paycheck I have now. So if Hostess can't afford to keep us as employees, I would like to be liquidated to a company that would honor my union," said Laura Kano who has worked at Merita for 14 years.

"Most of us that have been working here more than 15 years have gone back to working at the same pay rate as we were 10 years ago. And they're wanting more," said Henry King.

That deadline passed without any action from Hostess. They say they will make a decision on Friday.

Here's what's different about this story: workers here in Knoxville tell us most of these picketers are actually from out of town and sent here by the union. Knoxville workers say they are not allowed to strike, but they are standing behind the movement.

The national strike has already led Hostess to close three plants and lay off workers. The three plants already closed are in St. Louis, Seattle and Cincinnati.

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