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Revamped Hostess Cranking Out Twinkies, With Reduced Work Force

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(CBS) – The new makers of Hostess are calling the return of the brand’s signature snack cake the sweetest comeback ever.

But as CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, there is another side to the story.

The cream-filled sponge cakes are back in a big way after Hostess filed for bankruptcy amid labor disputes with its workers. Manufacturers say they’re making five times more Twinkies than normal to keep up with demand.

“Today is one of the happiest days of my business career,” Rich Seban, president of Hostess Brands LLC, said during a tour of the Hostess Schiller Park bakery, which has been restarted.

He credits snack-cake lovers with saving the brand.

“The rush for Twinkies — to get the last Twinkies on the shelves — was phenomenal, and that gave us the encouragement to find a way to get them back to market,” Seban said.

Not everything is the same. For instance, a Burbank outlet store for Hostess remains closed.

The new owner of that space says some of those employees have even asked him for work after sharing their financial woes.

One hundred and fifty Hostess employees lost their jobs at the Schiller Park facility. A representative for the union says only about 40 workers have been rehired, at more than $7 less an hour and with no union benefits.

“What we want to see is all our members working. They’re willing, ready and to return back to work,” John Howard of BCTGM Local 1 said.

The company president says within the next few months it will employ 1,800 workers in the U.S. They used to have 10 times that number.

While most of your favorite snack cakes are back, Sno Balls and Suzy Q’s won’t return to market for a few months.

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