Vermillion Hostess employee shares story of company closing - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Vermillion Hostess employee shares story of snack company closing its doors

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Hostess shut its doors Friday, turning away workers from 33 factories across the United States. 

The snack food maker filed for bankruptcy a second time this year, blaming striking workers across the country for crippling its ability to maintain production. 

Hostess is the maker of such popular products as Twinkies, Snowballs and Wonderbread, but the company's closure means a lot more than losing a nation's favorite snack foods. 

The liquidation of the company means 18,000 people are without a job this Holiday season, some right in South Dakota and areas surrounding the Sioux City factory. 

We spoke with Rufus Williams Friday, a former Hostess sales and delivery driver from Vermillion who says Friday's closure is the end of a long line of cuts for Hostess employees. 

"In the first bankruptcy the company asked the drivers to give up $110 a week to help get the company out of bankruptcy," said Williams.  

The factory bakers were also asked to take a pay cut, but they refused and went on strike. It's the reason Hostess says they had to close their doors. 

"I wish the company would have taken a little more responsibility for the financial problems instead of putting it all on the employee's shoulders," said Williams. 

He says while the drivers, bakers and factory workers were taking pay cuts, the company's executives were getting a big raise. 

"I'm talking like $2.5 dollars to one person $275,000 to another person in a time that we were then in bankruptcy they had that kind of money to give for bonuses and promotions," said Williams. 

Like the other 18,000 Hostess employees, Williams started work Friday with the notice that it would be his last with the company. 

"I called my boss and he assured me today was the last day. He said try to push through your route; if they don't take your product, don't force it on them.  When you get done, just go back to the depot, turn your keys in and drop them on the desk, there's no work tomorrow," said Williams. 

"I do have a family to take care of, I've got two little kids that depend on me and of course its right around the holidays," said Williams. 

It's also his daughter's 8th birthday on Saturday. 

"My wife called me this morning and she was very upset, she was hysterical; she was crying and she's kind of the one that worries a lot, which is understandable.

 While he and his family are working to see how they can make it through, Williams says it is important to keep a perspective on the situation. 

"I did loose my job today and 18,000 people lost there jobs as well.... I know somebody out there is in a worse situation than I am," said Williams. 

Williams says he coaches football in the area and has several trade skills and a college degree that will help him find a new job.   

"I got faith, so I believe things are going to work out for the best," said Williams.

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