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New Hope For Hostess In Bankruptcy Court

Hostess Twinkies. (Credit: Susanna Song)

Hostess Twinkies. (Credit: Susanna Song)

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CHICAGO (CBS/AP)–Twinkies won’t die that easily after all.

Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union will go into mediation to try and resolve their differences, meaning the 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.

The bankruptcy judge hearing the case said Monday that the parties haven’t gone through the critical step of mediation and asked the lawyer for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which has been on strike on Nov. 9, to ask his client, who wasn’t present, if the union would agree to participate. The judge noted that the bakery union went on strike after rejecting the company’s latest contract offer, even though it never filed an objection to it.

“Many people, myself included, have serious questions as to the logic behind this strike,” said Judge Robert Drain, who heard the case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York in White Plains, N.Y. “Not to have gone through that step leaves a huge question mark in this case.”

Hostess and the union are expected to begin the mediation process on Tuesday.

Irving, Texas-based Hostess, weighed down by debt, management turmoil, rising labor costs and the changing tastes of America, decided on Friday that it no longer could make it through a conventional Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. Instead, it’s asked the court for permission to sell assets and go out of business.

Bankruptcy expert John Pottow at the University of Michigan Law School says it’s likely the Hostess brands will live on.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports

“The fact that the company is going into liquidation does not by any means mean that we are going to see the end of the Twinkie,” Pottow said.

Hostess shut down on Friday after its bakers’ union declined the company’s ultimatum to end a week-long strike.

The liquidation shut down all of its plants including one in Schiller Park and left 18,500 employees nationwide suddenly out of work.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)