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September 18, 2014
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Hostess Workers Strike
Updated On: Nov 17, 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters;

As you know, more than 100 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco, and Grain Miller's Local #466 (BCTGM) in Billings have been on strike since last weekend. It is part of a national strike.

In a nutshell, Hostess offered a last, best and final proposal that included wage and benefit cuts that ranged from 26 to 33 percent. As President Eusebio Diaz (BCTGM #466) said, "It's almost the loss of an entire week's pay every month." Nationwide, the BCTGM membership voted down the proposal by 92%.

In response, Hostess - a company that has been in receivorship for years, went to bankruptcy court and tried to impose the wage and benefit cuts upon workers. That's when the workers decided to strike....and they did in several cities across the country.

Last Thursday in Billings, the strikers (picture at right and below) received a sheet of paper saying that Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn will liquidate the company if they didn't return to work by 5pm and accept the wage and benefit cuts.

The workers continued their stand for family-sustaining wages and benefits. On Friday, Hostess said they will close their business nationally forever.

A little background on Hostess: The company has been sold at least 3 times since the 1980s, racking up debt and shedding profitable assets along the way with each merger. They filed for bankruptcy in 2004 and 2011.

They have managed the company into the ground in many ways including the building of an entirley brand new baking facility in Oregon that was never used. As if a string of seriously bad management decisions were not enough, Hostess management gave themselves several raises.  The most recent was in July. All while they complained that the workers -- who actually produced profitable products -- were grossly overpaid.

The members of BCTGM are hoping, since the demand for baked goods remains strong, that a smarter company that is more respectful of workers will purchase the bakeries and honor can be returned to their profession and jobs returned to the communities where plants are located.

It's an honorable fight. It's a fight too many workers are being faced with in this age of corporate management sucking the life out of previously thriving business' and then spitting out the workers and the jobs, leaving devastated families in their wake.

Well, we all have to take this stand together if we are going to turn the tide and regain some dignity at work.

Click here to say - I STAND with BAKERY WORKERS !

Then, please donate.

More than 100 families in Billings are going into Thanksgiving weekend with no paycheck. You can donate money and food by mentioning the 'Bakery Workers' and mailing or dropping items off at the Labor Temple at 530 South 27th Street in Billings, 59101.

It's not easy to stand up for what's right. As a labor movement, let's stand together and support those who make that courageous decision. Their wins will be our wins. As working people, we must always have one anothers back.

Thank you for all you do.

In Solidarity,
Al Ekblad
Executive Secretary
Montana State AFL-CIO
www.mtaflcio.org
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