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WATERLOO (KWWL) -
Federal bankruptcy court has granted permission for Hostess Brands to close all of its facilities nationwide. The company is blaming a strike by bakers protesting a new contract imposed on them.
This means the facility located in Waterloo will close even though workers in the Waterloo facility did not go on strike.
The shutdown means 18,000 people have lost their jobs nationwide, and the company said the closing could begin as early as next Tuesday.
Kenneth Galligan has worked at Hostess in Waterloo for more than 27 years.
He said tensions have been high.
"It's wearing on everybody. It's wearing on people that are on strike and people that are in those plants that aren't on strike that are working," said Galligan. "It's wearing on everybody."
Hostess issued a statement late Wednesday saying, "Some of our employees who are on strike have expressed the desire to come back to work, but they have also expressed concern about the $140.00 daily fine the Bakers Union has threatened to impose on employees who cross a picket line. The employees are being misinformed that the fine will be taken out of their paychecks.
"We want to be clear: Hostess Brands does not provide a payroll deduction for any fine a union may decide to impose on our employees."
Hostess had previously said if those workers weren't back on the job by 4 p.m. Thursday, it would file a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court requesting to wind down the company and sell all its assets.
After the 4 p.m. deadline passed Thursday, the company issued an additional statement saying it would probably make a decision on the matter Friday.
Waterloo is one of 25 Hostess bakeries that make Wonder Bread. Fifty-nine employees work at the Waterloo bakery plant with an additional 30 employees in the distribution center.
Iowa has 24 Hostess locations. Another warehouse distribution center is in Davenport, with 13 stores across the state, and several more shipping depots.
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