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Judge orders Hostess to go into mediation with workers’ union

• Dominic Rushe, The Guardian via

Troubled Twinkie maker Hostess Brands and the unions representing its striking workers agreed to start mediation hearings on Tuesday at the urging of a bankruptcy court judge.

Management at the Twinkies and Wonder Bread manufacturer sought permission to liquidate the company on Monday, but was urged by the judge to mediate in private. Mediation will begin on Tuesday. If talks collapse, lawyers for Hostess will be back in court to seek approval to shut down the 82-year-old company.

Hostess filed for bankruptcy for the second time in January and had been negotiating cuts with its unions. Those talks fell apart last week as the company’s management blamed the union, and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Makers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) union in turn blamed mismanagement. The union also balked at a fresh round of pay cuts it said would cut wages by 27-32%.

Judge Robert Drain of the US bankruptcy court asked attorneys to mediate.

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