July 16, 2020

Strike against Interstate Bakeries ends

BIDDEFORD — An eight-day strike against Interstate Bakeries Corp. that cut off the flow of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and other products across the Northeast ended Thursday, union officials said.

The company and the union met Thursday and resolved a stalemate over the arbitration process that led to a walkout by 1,400 Teamsters on March 15, said Robert Piccone, president of Teamsters Local 340.

“Right now it sounds like everyone is going to get their Twinkies,” he said.

The Teamsters left their jobs because the company refused to abide by arbitration rulings. The company said the process was unfair; the union said the company refused to participate.

Because of the strike, the company’s Biddeford plant that makes J.J. Nissen, Wonder Bread, Hostess and Drake’s products was shut down, putting another 400 bakers out of work. Teamsters have since set up pickets elsewhere, shutting down plants in New York City, Philadelphia, Wayne, N.J., and Buffalo, N.Y.

Another plant in Akron, Ohio, was shut down by Teamsters sympathetic to a separate issue at a Pittsburgh distribution hub, where contracts expired for 140 Teamsters back in October.

Eventually, the strike put more than 5,000 people, including both Teamsters and members of the Bakers Union, out of work.

On the picket line in Biddeford, workers let out a cheer when they heard the news shortly after 6 p.m.

Bill Turkewitz, another union official, said he was pulling pickets in Biddeford, and he said pickets also were being removed elsewhere.

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