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Union sympathizers slam Hostess over shutdown [Google+ Hangout]

Economy, Business and FinanceMedia IndustryJobs and WorkplaceHostess Brands, Inc.ConsumersBankruptcy

The Hostess Brands Inc. shutdown is still leaving consumers reeling as they ponder a potential future without Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos.

The 82-year-old company is blaming its closure -- which will affect 565 distribution centers, 33 bakeries and 570 bakery outlets -- on a labor strike by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.

The union has accused the Texas business of slashing workers' wages and benefits while awarding substantial pay raises to its top brass.

In a statement, the National Consumers League threw its support behind the union, saying Hostess executives were “scapegoating” workers instead of “taking responsibility themselves.”

“It is years of poor management -- not the reasonable demands to improve working conditions of the BCTGM -- that led to the company’s demise, said the league’s executive director, Sally Greenberg. “What a terrible time of year to take away the livelihood of 18,500 workers and the dozens of communities with factories that will be shuttered.”

Quiz: How well do you know fast food?

When the company filed for bankruptcy in January, there were 14,276 social media mentions in the first 12 days of the month, according to social medial analytics firm NetBase. In early November, there were 542 mentions.

But starting Nov. 9, when workers began walking off the job, through Friday, the number of mentions soared to 17,632, according to NetBase.

Join us for a live video chat at 2:30 p.m. with food reporter Tiffany Hsu and host Michelle Maltais. Leave your comments and questions below.

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