Hostess ex-workers eligible for trade adjustment assistance program
BY Staff Reports
Thursday, February 21, 2013
2/21/13 at 3:15 AM
Approximately 18,000 Hostess workers laid off in 48 states, including 337 in Oklahoma, are eligible to apply for trade adjustment assistance, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The workers affected are from 864 Hostess company locations nationwide.
The Labor Department found that increased imports of baked products contributed to the company's sales declines and worker separations, and therefore qualified for the TAA certification.
Founded in 1930, Hostess Brands Inc. is liquidating after failing to reach an agreement with striking bakers on concessions to help the company emerge from its second bankruptcy, according to previous reports. The company entered bankruptcy again in January 2012.
Earlier this month, Irving, Texas-based Hostess won bankruptcy court approval to hold auctions for brands including Wonder Bread, Twinkies and Drake's.
In November, dozens of workers at the Hostess and Wonder Bread bakery in Tulsa went on strike after the company announced bankruptcy reorganization plans that included pay cuts for employees. Union workers rejected a proposed contract in September that included an 8 percent pay decrease.
Shortly thereafter, 180 workers at the bakery, at 1111 S. Sheridan Road, lost their jobs.
Hostess' 97,000-square-foot Tulsa bakery had operated in Tulsa since 1955. The facility has changed ownership several times, with Wonder Bread being sold and split off among several groups, according to a previous report.
State workforce agencies will contact workers covered by the TAA certification and provide instructions on how to apply for individual benefits and services, the Labor Department said.
Those who qualify may receive case management and re-employment services, training in new occupational skills, and trade readjustment allowances that provide income support for workers enrolled in training. Workers may also receive job search and relocation allowances, and the Health Coverage Tax Credit.
TAA is open to eligible workers of all ages, but workers 50 years of age and older may elect to receive Re-employment Trade Adjustment Assistance instead.
More information on TAA program can be found at tulsaworld.com/doleta
Original Print Headline: Aid available to ex-Hostess workers
Striking workers picket outside the Hostess bakery at 1111 S. Sheridan Road on Nov. 16. The plant later closed after Hostess Brands Inc. declared bankruptcy. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World file