February 20, 2013

Photo by John Ewing/staff photographer... Striking Hostess Brands workers in Biddeford warm up at a fire barrel while walking on the picket line in this November 15 2012 file photo. About 370 workers at the company's bakery in Biddeford lost their jobs when the plant closed last November.

Hostess workers eligible for federal aid

By Jessica Hall
Staff Writer

Hostess Brands workers in Maine and 47 other states are eligible for federal aid, including training, relocation allowances, and job search benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

A bankruptcy judge in November approved Hostess Brands' request to close 33 bakeries and put such well-known brands as Twinkies and Wonder Bread up for sale. Hostess employed about 500 workers in Maine, including 370 of them at the company's bakery in Biddeford, which produced chocolate cupcakes, Sno Balls and other cakes and bread.

The aid, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, was based on a Labor Department investigation that found that increased imports of baked products contributed importantly to the company’s sales declines and worker separations.

“Trade Adjustment Assistance enables workers to pursue training in the skills that today’s employers need, contributing not just to a stronger middle class, but to a stronger American economy,” said acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris.

An auction for some Hostess assets will take place on Feb. 28, with a hearing to authorize a sale on March 5. Last month, Flowers Foods Inc. agreed to buy Wonder and other well-known bread brands from Hostess Brands for $390 million.

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