Orlando Merita Bakery plant closes in Hostess strike

200 workers out of a job

ORLANDO, Fla. - Most of the employees at Merita Bread Bakery in downtown Orlando are out of a job on Friday after Hostess Brands -- the maker of Twinkies, Drake's Devil Dogs and Wonder Bread -- announced Friday that it is asking to close its operations.

A handful of the Orlando factory's almost 200 workers showed up to work Friday morning to find out Merita Factory won't be functioning anymore. Hostess is asking a federal bankruptcy court for permission to close its operations, blaming a strike by bakers protesting a new contract imposed on them.

Some workers say they blame the union for their job loss, saying the picketlines are the reason he's out of the job.

"You just ruined everybody's holidays... " said Johnny Santiel. "It's a sad thing."

Even retired workers came out on Friday to show support for their coworkers.

"That hurts, I've got a lot of friends here that worked here for years and retired and I'd hate to see anything happen to the bakery," said Blaine Hensley, a retired Merita worker.

Hostess announced it would lay off 18,500 employees across the country. Local 6 spoke to the union outside of the Merita Bakery, who said the majority of the workers at the Orlando plant voted to go on strike.

Residents tell Local 6 they are sad to see the iconic bakery go.

"This is an Orlando icon Merita bread it's been here since the 20s," said Lee Davis, a retired Merita worker. "It's a sad day because I started here when I was 17 years old going to Boone High School, working at the old bakery after school."

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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