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Hostess Hanging On

***UPDATE TUESDAY 4:50 P.M.***Hostess company representatives tell ABC 17 News that they are in the same position as the rest of the country, waiting to see what happens during mediation between the company and the workers’ unions.The company claims they did everything they could to get employees back to work.”I couldn’t tell you the company’s pursued negotiations,” said Hostess communications director Erik Halvorson. “I can tell you for the last month or so the union did not return company calls.”Technically, no employees have been fired yet, because a judge must sign off on the company’s liquidation before the firings become official. If no progress is made in negotiations with the union, the company will ask the judge to approve the liquidation.However, the state of Missouri is now waiting. Officials are already working to get another business into Boonville in addition to the Department of Economic Development sending its rapid response team to help any Hostess worker wanting to find a new job.Hostess leaders still claim that none of this was their fault or intention.”We were taking steps towards emerging from bankruptcy when the strikes started,” said Halvorson. “The union called the strikes and that crippled our ability to produce and distribute goods.”***UPDATE TUESDAY 11:45 A.M.***The Rapid Response Team from the state’s Department of Economic Development will be in Boonville to assist former employees of the now-shuttered Hostess plant.The team will be at the Knights of Columbia Hall at 1515 Radio Hill Road from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.The DED says any Hostess employee who is facing a job loss due to the company’s closure is encouraged to file for Unemployment Insurance immediately and attend a meeting.Anyone looking for further information can call (573) 751-2225.***UPDATE TUESDAY 10:07 A.M.***Hostess officials called ABC 17 News within the last 10 minutes stating mediation has begun between company leaders and union leaders. They aren’t sure how long the talks will last.The judge pushed back the liquidation hearing to Wednesday. He wants the two sides to give one last attempt to strike up a deal and save more than 18,000 employees jobs. ***UPDATE 6:59 P.M.***Late Monday afternoon the federal bankruptcy judge handling the Hostess case ordered the company and union leaders to meet. The judge says the two sides need to go through mediation before the company liquidates and sells off assets as it planned last Friday.Hostess plants shutdown Friday over the labor strike. The company laid off 18,000 employees, including 80 at its Boonville plant.The state’s Department of Economic Development said it would be sending its rapid response team on Wednesday. They are going to help employees update their resumes, give them advice on how to get a job in certain fields and try to advance their skill sets.Many of the outlet stores in Mid-Missouri remained open for their final day.The store in Boonville is one of the luckier ones. A store worker tells ABC 17 News they are getting more truck loads of items and expect to be open tomorrow and Saturday. But for others, it was their last day and some are sad this day has come.”I had vacation coming, I get nothing,” Columbia Hostess outlet store manager Wanda Lynn explains. “That’s sad because we have worked hard for the company.”The mediation is expected to start sometime on Tuesday. If the two sides can strike up a deal, it’s possible operations can resume.***UPDATE 2:00 P.M.***The bakery shop in Boonville tells ABC 17 News they will remain open for a few more days. They say they’re getting two more truckloads of items.They were ready to close their doors at 3 P.M., but they now expect to stay open until Saturday. They say they will stay open until supplies last.***ORIGINAL STORY***After Hostess decided it couldn’t survive Chapter 11 reorganization last week, Hostess outlet stores around Mid-Missouri will close their doors today. Columbia, Jefferson City, Mexico and Boonville all have outlets that will close today.Today lawyers for Hostess will be in bankruptcy court to ask permission to sell its assets and go out of business. Some market analysts predict the high visibility of Hostess products will make the bakery an easy purchase for another company. That would likely allow products like Twinkies and Wonder Bread to continue.

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