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COLUMBUS, IN. (WDRB) - Tens of thousands of Hostess workers will lose their jobs and Americans are saying goodbye to some of their favorite sweet treats.
But workers in our area believe there may be a way to save the twinkie. Even though they could not come to terms with Hostess, people in Columbus, Indiana still want to work, even though the factory there has shut down.
The sign at the Dolly Madison plant in Columbus, Indiana says it all -- closed for business. "The last few batches are done," said Hostess worker Timothy Hilderbrand. "6 o'clock tonight, they are locking the doors for good."
Thousands of union members nationwide went on strike last week after rejecting a contract offering lower wages and benefits.
Hostess decided to shut down. In Columbus, Indiana, 200 Hostess factory workers have lost their jobs. "As much as I hate it, I mean I got three little kids at home and a wife. But it is what it is. I'm not going to go in there and work for what they're going to pay me."
For Nan Gill, it means losing the pension she has worked 30 years for, making gem donuts. "I started here when I was 18, right out of high school, two weeks out of high school. And I've been loyal to this company and come to work everyday, do what I'm told to do and do my job. I was supposed to retire March 1st. They took that away from me," said Gill.
The CEO of Hostess says the company had been operating on tight lines, and the strike took them out. Some say it is the union's fault for not accepting a deal. "No it's not our fault. No no no no," said Gill. "They've had financial problems for a long time. And we've put our lives on hold for them."
Hostess released a statement saying, "We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike. Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."
That is exactly what many workers are hoping for. "I'm hoping somebody comes up here and buys us and we can get back to work in a month or two," said Hilderbrand.
"Let's keep Hostess alive!" said Gill. "Let's keep those twinkies going and ding dongs and gems and pies, people love that stuff! Keep it goin."
You will still see the Hostess and Dolly Madison trucks on the roads to deliver and sell the already-baked products.
Hostess outlets in our area tell me they will stay open until the product is gone.