After Hostess liquidation, 200 Lenexa workers out of job

LENEXA, Kan. - Thousands of employees are out of a job following Hostess' announcement to liquidate the company.

About 200 Hostess employees who worked at the Lenexa, Kan., plant lost their jobs Friday -- whether they were union employees or not.

Hostess said the liquidation was forced by strikers not returning to work.

Judy Ancel, director of the Institute of Labor at UMKC, said blaming the union is a cop-out.

"Unions aren't costing companies any more than they ever did," Ancel said. "In fact, they're costing less." 

She said if workers wouldn't have taken a stand, their concessions could have become the norm industry-wide.

"You can bet that the competitors of Hostess are looking at this in hopes of getting a similar deal with pensions and wages 30 percent below what the industry norm is," Ancel explained.

Now that they have taken a stand, employees may not get the obligations they are owed.

"The union workers are unsecured creditors, so they're going to have to get in line behind the hedge funds," Ancel said.

That's a worry Conrad Boos, Missouri business rep with BCTGM Local 281, shares.

"We have severance in our contracts, but have been informed at another location, that they won't be honoring that part of the agreement," he said.

If true, that leaves union workers hoping a new owner will come in soon.

"We're hoping that someone will want to buy the facility, and will want to make bread and buns again. We're the best workforce that can do that," Boos said.

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