EMPORIA, Kan. - Hostess Brands reopened its former bakery in Emporia, Kan., on Thursday. But the move drew mixed reviews from former Hostess workers who are still looking for work.
Bruce Williams worked at the Hostess Bakery in Lenexa for four years. He took great pride in knowing how to run several machines and working for a large company, but that all changed in November of 2012 when the planted closed.
"I didn't expect it to be this hard," Williams sighed.
In November, all 33 Hostess plants shut down after a standoff with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. Williams said he was one of two union members who crossed the picket lines.
"I respected them for what they were doing; they were out there in the rain, cold, at night day. I had to pay bills. I have a family. I have to take care of my home first," Williams explained.
Thursday afternoon, the Hostess plant in Emporia reopened as Hostess Brands, LLC. The plant is expected to hire up to 300 workers who should have Twinkies on the shelves in July.
Williams does not expect to be among those hired at the new Hostess plant.
"Kansas is a right-to-work state. They can hire who ever they want to hire. They don't have to rehire us," Williams said.
41 Action News made several attempts to speak with Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., the parent companies of Hostess, but our phone calls were not returned.