IAM: Hostess Workers Fight for Final Paychecks
While current and former executives at bankrupt Hostess Brands, Inc., decide how to spend millions in bonuses, hourly workers are discovering their final paychecks will be short several hundred dollars in promised vacation pay.
According to a bankruptcy-brokered Employee Retention Program at Hostess, workers taking part in the shutdown of Hostess facilities and those workers displaced by the closures will not be paid for vacation time accrued during the previous year. The workers were previously told their earned vacation pay would be included in their final paychecks.
“This is the latest example of how harshly workers are being treated in the Hostess bankruptcy,” said Jim Price, who coordinates activities on behalf of several hundred Hostess employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. “Outrageous payments for Hostess executives are being paid for with outrageous sacrifices from Hostess workers. There is a crying need for balance here.”
In an emotional letter to the judge charged with administering the Hostess bankruptcy, one employee's spouse urges the judge to reconsider the priorities of the so-called bonus program.
“My family and our friends are going to be struggling based on the lack of pay. While our savings may keep us afloat, it is hard to say how long,” wrote Patricia Saunders of Puyallup, WA, whose husband was recently notified he would not receive the promised vacation pay. “At this point, we are going to be lucky to make it to February.”
The IAM represents nearly 700,000 active and retired workers and is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America. For more information about the IAM, visit www.goiam.org.