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Hostess, Union agree to mediation

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Updated: 11/20/2012 9:11 am Published: 11/19/2012 2:13 pm

Twinkies get a second lease on life, and Hostess workers in Tulsa may not have to search for new jobs.

Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union will go into mediation to try and resolve their differences, meaning the Irving, Texas-based company won't go out of business just yet.

The news came Monday after Hostess moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court citing a crippling strike last week.

A federal bankruptcy judge in New York hearing the case says that the parties haven't gone through the critical step of mediation and asked the lawyer for the bakery's union to ask his client, who wasn't present, if he would agree to participate.

Monday's announcement came as a big surprise to Hostess employees like Doyle Briggs who thought they'd lost their jobs at the bakery giant.

“I’ve got two or three applications already on-line. I can't wait around; I’ve got to do something,” he told FOX23.

On Monday afternoon, his paycheck search stopped. He wants to keep the job he's had at Tulsa’s Hostess plant for 27 years, but he isn't all smiles.

“(I wonder) why did it wait till all these families were looking for jobs for it to get to this point? Why wasn't it done earlier?”

No one really knows. The baker’s union and hostess haven't had serious talks since August. Last week the company said the bakers' strike crippled the maker of Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, and there was no other decision than to liquidate.

“(The Hostess CEO) said we're done. There's no chance; it's over, so I just assumed it was over,” Briggs said.

Union manager Fred Frierson says he thinks public outcry could have played some role in what's happened in the past 24 hours.

“There's a lot of public support we've been getting from this. It's going to revive the Twinkie if you ask me,” Frierson told FOX23.

If the Twinkie can rise again, maybe the impossible can happen at the mediation table.

“I say a glimmer of hope,” Briggs said.

“I would think it's a shot, as long as they're talking we got a shot,” Frierson told FOX23.

Employees like Briggs aren't ready to put away their resumes just yet.

“It’s a positive thing, but I am not really positive that it's going to matter.”

The timetable, next steps, and final outcome for Hostess and workers in Tulsa are all in the air right now. With Thanksgiving this week, employees probably won't know anything until next week at the earliest.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 11/19/2012 8:07 PM
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I'll help them out all I can. I'm still boycotting their products.
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