Nov 22, 2012 12:23 AM
BILLINGS - Hostess Brands - owner of Sweetheart Bakery here in Billings.. is officially going out of business.
A bankruptcy judge approved a request to liquidate the 82-year-old company, on Wednesday.
The decision came after the company's latest attempt to end a pay-and-benefits dispute with its Bakery Workers union failed.
The announcement means the closure of dozens of bakeries, hundreds of distribution centers.. and more than 18-thousand jobs.
Sweetheart Bakery workers say they're looking to the future, with what they hope is a new owner running the Billings bakery.
Today's liquidation announcement is something Bakery union workers anticipated and wanted.
Workers in Billings remained on the picket line at Sweetheart until 7:30 Wednesday night. That's when Locall 466 was informed by the main office of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union in Maryland.
The strike started on November 9th.
Hostess blames the union for the shutdown..since it did not accept the latest offer in September.
Hostess stopped its bakeries last week , after several days of strikes and the union is optimistic a new owner will emerge.
"We've heard of three different companies," said Mark Wood, a former worker at Sweetheart. "At this point I don't want to mention any names, heard there is strong interest in this particular bakery itself."
Union workers say a new company will re-open Sweetheart. Their estimates of when that may happen range from a few days to 90 days.
The judges decision allows the company to start selling its brands such as Twinkies and Wonder Bread to the highest bidder.
CBS News reports, a lawyer for Hostess says the company has received a flood of inquiries from companies interested in buying several of its popular brands.