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July 25, 2014

First Hockey and Now Twinkies Too?

Labor disputes are messing with two of America's favorites: Hockey and Twinkies.

Today is Day 62 of the NHL lockout. The Winter Classic and 326 regular season games have already been cancelled. And yesterday NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman proposed a two-week moratorium on further talks. The NHL and NHLPA worked at it over the last two weeks and even met for six consecutive days in New York. Experienced labor negotiators were hopeful not only because the parties were at the table but because neither side was running to the media or holding press conferences. (If you're not there to announce a tentative agreement, a press conference during negotiations is usually a bad sign.) But last Friday's session reportedly ended with a heated exchange, and talks on Sunday were adjourned after an hour.

Eklund, the blogger at Hockeybuzz.com who is usually writing about trades and free agents rumors, has an interesting take on Bettman's moratorium proposal.  Despite being questioned in the national hockey press, Eklund suggests that Bettman might be tossing the ball back to Donald Fehr and basically saying your turn.  The lock-out and negotiations are obviously at a critical point and the season is definitely now at risk.

See other reports at CBS Sports and The Huffington Post

The other labor news of the day is that Hostess Brands has just announced this morning that it plans to liquidate the company. The New York Times is reporting that Hostess, which is already in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, announced the liquidation after members of the Bakery and Confectionery Workers Union rejected a Company ultimatum to return to work by 5 p.m. Thursday. The strike started on Nov. 9 after a bankruptcy judge approved a contract with concessions for the workers. The Union responded by blaming the closing on “nearly a decade of financial and operational mismanagement” by Hostess. Bloomberg.com reports that the Union also asserted that Hostess has stopped payments to the workers’ pension plan, and sought up to 32 percent cuts in wages and benefits. 

© 2014 BARNES & THORNBURG LLP

About the Author

Gerald Lutkus, Labor and Employment Attorney, Barnes Thornburg, Law Firm
Partner

Gerald F. (“Jerry”) Lutkus is a partner in the South Bend office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP where he is a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law and Litigation Departments. He practices in the areas of labor and employment law counseling and litigation, arbitration, collective bargaining, media law, including counseling of and defense litigation for media companies and commercial and business litigation.

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