(KPTM) - Hostess Brands Inc, its lenders and the unions representing its striking workers, agreed to start mediation hearings on Tuesday at the urging of a U.S. bankruptcy court judge.
An official from Hostess confirmed to FOX 42 News this afternoon the company has agreed to enter back into talks with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Tuesday.
Hostess, the company behind treats snacked on for generations, was poised to present to a federal bankruptcy judge a plan to shut down 36 plants and sell off the company's business. The liquidation was sparked by a nationwide strike orchestrated by the union.
While Hostess has said the shutdown would result in the loss of more than 18,000 jobs and place the fate of more than 30 American brands in jeopardy, union President Frank Hurt said he believed there was "more than a good chance" that a buyer quickly would swoop in to buy the profitable parts of the company and give his union's members their jobs back.
"I'm not in a position to promise anybody anything, but I'm in a position to be hopeful," he said Sunday.
Hurt, whose union counts 5,600 Hostess employees as members, said he was comforted by the recent frenzy over Hostess products, as consumers rushed to stock up after Friday's announcement of the shutdown. "People are going crazy because they think they're not going to be able to get any Twinkies or Ho Ho's or Wonder Bread," he said. "They'll be produced somewhere, some time and by our members."
Hostess Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn had a different vision of how the bankruptcy auction process would play out.
"Nobody wants to have anything to do with these old plants or these unions or these contracts," Rayburn said in an interview. The company had hunted for buyers for the last several years as it tried to avoid a second trip into bankruptcy, but no buyer came forward.