UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: Rejoice, for Hostess and its striking union have agreed to participate in mediation. The judge who urged both sides toward mediation will preside over a session between the two tomorrow. According to the Wall Street Journal the judge said
“My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs as well as my belief that there is a possibility to resolve this matter notwithstanding the losses that the debtors have incurred over the last week or so and the difficulty of reorganizing this company in the first place.”
EARLIER STORY CONTINUES BELOW
You’re not the only one who lives his Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes and those sinful apple pies — a bankruptcy judge asked Hostess and its striking union whether they could see clear to perhaps work things out if he helped. You know, instead of just calling it quits and pulling the plug on the whole cream-filled operation. No need to be hasty when there’s frosting at sake, after all.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the judge said he could help mediate today during a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y. He asked attorneys involved with both the company and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International union if they thought things could be smoothed over with his help.
While he didn’t explicitly state that he’s a fan of Hostess products, perhaps he’s been paying attention to the news of Twinkies hoarders clearing shelves of products from grocery stores in their panic.
“To me not to have gone through that step leaves a huge question mark over this case, which I think—I may be wrong—but I think will only be answered in litigation. And that’s no one’s desired outcome,” the judge said.
He then called a recess to the hearing for the two sides to mull over the proposed mediation. It could be tough going, however, as both sides seem to have dug in.
Hostess says the strike hurt the company’s finances to the point where it can’t possibly come back into the black. The judge said he realized that was quite a hit, but also wondered whether liquidation was the answer.
“Moving to a liquidation is also a significant economic hit, and I think that many people, myself included, have serious questions as to the logic behind the decision to strike and a concern that it may be as a result of differences as far as information and goals,” the judge said. Such differences “might be better worked out with a neutral third party in private as opposed to raising these issues in public.”
He added that he’d be willing to be that neutral third party, while making it super clear that although he definitely thinks that’s the way to go, it’s on the two sides to be willing to make it happen.
We also suggest using a lot of “I” statements and making sure you really listen to the other side, otherwise it becomes all about slinging mud and yelling “NANANANA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” with your fingers in your ears. That’s what we call “unproductive mediation tactics.”
Now, slowly back away from that pile of Twinkies you were in the midst of devouring in your Hostess-related panic. It’s going to be okay. We hope.
Judge Suggests Mediation for Hostess Dispute [Wall Street Journal]