The union that brought the 85-year-old baker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread to its knees is holding out hope that a buyer will salvage chunks of the company and send the union's members back to work, even as Hostess Brands Inc. gears up for a fire sale.
Hostess, the company behind treats snacked on for generations, is poised on Monday to present to a federal bankruptcy judge a plan to shut down 36 plants and sell off the company's business. The liquidation was sparked by a nationwide strike orchestrated by the snack maker's second-largest union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers.
While Hostess has said the shutdown would result in the loss of more than 18,000 jobs and place the fate of more than 30 American brands in jeopardy, union President Frank Hurt said he believed there was "more than a good chance" that a buyer quickly would swoop in to buy the profitable parts of the company and give his union's members their jobs back.
Hostess Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn had a different vision of how the bankruptcy auction process would play out.
"Nobody wants to have anything to do with these old plants or these unions or these contracts," Mr. Rayburn said in an interview. The company had hunted for buyers for the last several years as it tried to avoid a second trip into bankruptcy, but no buyer came forward.
Liquidation firm Great American Group Inc. GAMR 0.00%and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co., the owner of beer brands including Pabst Blue Ribbon, have signaled interest in Hostess's brands. But Mr. Rayburn said potential buyers have made clear that their interest partly is because a liquidated Hostess would be free of its collective-bargaining agreements.