Business/Economy
6:20 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Help for idled Hostess workers

Credit Pat Blank

A blue and white “Now Hiring” sign hangs on the front of the Wonder Bread bakery in downtown Waterloo.  It’s an outdated sign because not only is the company not adding workers, last Friday it laid off everyone who worked there.  Parent company Hostess has filed for bankruptcy idling nearly 19 thousand workers across the country. A federal judge is considering the case and has agreed to mediation.

59 bakery and distribution employees and 30 truck drivers affected by the closing in Waterloo are invited to a rapid response meeting Tuesday at Hawkeye Community College. Workforce Development Director for the college, Jeannie Wright says the idea is to provide options for those who suddenly find themselves unemployed. She says some use it as an opportunity ,”maybe they’re looking  at going into nursing and having assistance in paying for it or learning a new skill like becoming a welder.”

The Hostess workers join 220 Beef Products Incorporated employees in Waterloo who lost their jobs in May, and nearly 300 Peregrine Financial Group employees in Cedar Falls who found themselves without work in July when the firm filed for bankruptcy.  Bacon Veneer wood specialty company in nearby Grundy Center also added 50 workers to the unemployment rolls when it ceased production in October.