CNBC just a few moments ago tweeted the following:
BREAKING: Hostess and Bakers Union agree to mediation, preventing shut down.
— CNBC (@CNBC) November 19, 2012
If mediation leads to an agreement between the snack maker and the Bakers Union, it will mean that a) 18,000+ people just narrowly escaped joining the unemployment line and b) we ate all those Twinkies for nothing.
UPDATE -- Lest there be some confusion, "mediation" doesn't mean that a deal has been reached. It just means that both parties have agreed to sit down and hash out their differences.
"The news came Monday after Hostess moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court citing a crippling strike last week," the Associated Press reports.
The bankruptcy judge hearing the case noted that neither party had gone through the critical step of mediation and suggested they do that before any further action be taken.
"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," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain said on Monday.
"I'm giving the union, as well as the debtors and their lenders, the last chance," he added.
Both parties agreed.
However, if both parties fail to come to an agreement, the bankruptcy hearing will resume Wednesday at 11 a.m ET.
UPDATE II -- Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn weighs in on the news [via the AP]:
... Rayburn said that there is enormous financial pressure to come to an agreement with the union by the end of the day Tuesday. He noted that it's costing Hostess about $1 million a day in payroll costs alone to keep the company alive.
"We didn't think we had a runway, but the judge just created a 24-hour runway," said Rayburn, who added that even if a contract agreement is reached, it's unclear whether all 33 Hostess plants operate again.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
This story and its headline have been updated for clarity.