Hostess, workers go to mediation

At the ur­ging of a fed­er­al bank­ruptcy judge, Host­ess Brands and its strik­ing work­ers agreed Monday to enter private me­di­ation in a last-ditch ef­fort to pre­vent the com­pany’s li­quid­a­tion and save thou­sands of jobs, in­clud­ing about 300 at the com­pany’s North­east Phil­adelphia plant.

The Bakery, Con­fec­tion­ary, To­bacco Work­ers and Grain Millers Uni­on rep­res­ents about 5,600 of Host­ess’ 18,500 work­ers na­tion­ally and de­clared a strike on Nov. 9 in re­sponse to failed con­tract talks.

The Irving, Texas-based com­pany has been in Chapter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­ceed­ings since Janu­ary, its second bank­ruptcy fil­ing in the last dec­ade, and has sought to re­duce its labor costs as part of a re­or­gan­iz­a­tion plan.

On Tues­day, Host­ess ex­ec­ut­ives and com­pany in­vestors were to meet with the bakery uni­on of­fi­cials, as well as Team­sters uni­on rep­res­ent­at­ives. The Team­sters is Host­ess’ largest labor uni­on and has agreed to new con­tract terms with the com­pany.

Late last week, about 25 uni­on mem­bers were pick­et­ing the Host­ess fa­cil­ity at Grant Av­en­ue and Blue Grass Road.

The 82-year-old com­pany is known for man­u­fac­tur­ing Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, along with Won­der Bread, Drakes and Dolly Madis­on brand products.

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