MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - On Friday, November 16, it looked like the Hostess company was finished, stating it was crippled by debt and union demands, the iconic bakery shut its doors.
Nationwide, thousands stood to lose their jobs, including more than 200 in Memphis.
But, on Monday, November 19, there was renewed hope all that cream-filled goodness would return to store shelves.
Despite annual sales topping two billion dollars, Hostess listed debt of more than one billion.
The company wanted to liquidate, but the union opposed the plan and a federal bankruptcy trustee agreed.
On Monday a judge got all sides to agree to mediation, but among striking Memphis workers, cautious skepticism ruled.
“They didn’t want to smooth it out before,” said 17-year Hostess worker, Cynthia- who declined to give her last name.
But, thanks to bankruptcy judge Robert Drain, there was at least temporary hope tensions between Hostess and its workers could be smoothed out.
“It’s a sign,” said Lavell Featherston, “a sign we might be back home." Featherston was one of the striking workers from the Memphis bakery.
The judge convinced Hostess, its lenders and the striking union to agree to mediation. According to Drain, “My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs as well as my belief there is a possibility to resolve this matter.”
But getting there could be bumpy.
“The first bankruptcy,” Cynthia told abc24.com, “we gave concessions. Two years later they’re back in bankruptcy wanting more concessions; no way.”
“No more negotiating,” said striker Janice Black, a twenty year veteran of Hostess.
In a lawsuit filed by the bakers union, Hostess’ attempt to sell-off assets was labeled: “A transparent attempt to maximize the value of the liquidation for lenders at the expense of unionized employees.”
“They just took what they wanted,” James Worles said. Worles worked at Hostess for 19 years.
Hostess CEO Greg Rayburn didn’t seem overly hopeful that problems with the union could be settled, saying, “Maybe the judge will help. But, can I handicap how it’s going to go? No way.”
“He wants to liquidate.” Cynthia told abc24.com.
But unlike Rayburn, Cynthia was trying to remain positive.
“You will see Twinkies again,” said Cynthia, “you will see Twinkies again.”