Hostess mediation could save jobs, Twinkies, other baked goods

November 20, 2012 6:13:00 PM PST
Last-minute mediation talks Tuesday could spare the company that makes Twinkies and other baked goods and save thousands of jobs nationwide, including more than 300 in the Chicago area.

Last week, Hostess announced it had taken action to close and liquidate, which shut down 36 plants, including the one in Schiller Park where the Twinkie was invented. Almost 300 people worked at that location.

Another 32 people worked at a bakery in Hodgkins.

Some workers were out on the picket lines in front of the Schiller Park plant Tuesday.

The mediation was scheduled after a bankruptcy judge told the company that it hadn't done enough to resolve the conflict. Now, 18,500 jobs nationwide could be saved as Hostess and it its second largest union, the Bakers Union, have agreed to try to resolve their differences in private mediation scheduled for a 12 p.m. Central start time.

The disagreement started when the union initially rejected a contract calling for cuts to pay and benefits.

Hostess told the union if its members did not agree to the final offer, the company would liquidate. Obviously, the company did follow through with that threat last week.

Since then, it has been almost impossible to find Twinkies or other Hostess brands on the store shelves.

If a contract agreement is reached Tuesday, or if both parties agree to keep negotiating, a bankruptcy court hearing scheduled for Wednesday could be delayed -- possibly saving Hostess jobs and the famous baked goods brands.

A company spokesperson says if no progress is made Tuesday, the liquidation and shutting down of Hostess mostly likely will continue Wednesday in bankruptcy court.

The spokesperson also says whatever the outcome, it must happen fast because Hostess is currently spending $1 million per day on payroll without selling any products.

The other wildcard that could save Hostess is if another company steps in to buy it.


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