Former Waterloo Hostess Workers Consider the Future at Job Fair

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

The Waterloo Hostess bakery on Commercial Street is one of the 33 operations that will be closing Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in Waterloo, Iowa after Hostess Brands said it was going out of business. (AP Photo/The Waterloo Courier, Matthew Putney)

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By Aaron Hepker

WATERLOO, Iowa - A good portion of the displaced workers from the now closed Hostess bakery and distribution center in Waterloo turned out for a special job fair Friday.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber (GCVAC) put the job fair together and invited approximately 85 displaced bakery, sales and trucking workers who once worked for Hostess. The specialized job fair drew a total of 23 potential employers.

Brittany Jungck, director of business services for the GCVAC, said organizers hoped as many as half of the participants would get a solid lead on a new job at the job fair.

“We can’t be the ones who close the deal. Hopefully, we can open the door and hopefully give half the people hope for the holidays that they’ll have a job in the future,” Jungck said.

Several of the former Hostess workers who participated in the three-hour event thought the employers offered a good mix of current openings. Some were in the food preparation, packaging or distribution businesses.

Ken Galligan, a 27-year bakery employee said “It looks like they have a broad range of jobs available.” Another former bakery worker, Chris Miller, said “right now I’m taking it easy. I’m one of the luckier ones—my car’s paid off and I don’t have a lot of bills. So I don’t have to jump into something right away.”

While the Hostess corporation is selling the famous brands like Twinkies and Wonder Bread to the highest bidder, workers don't expect a new buyer to reopen the aging Waterloo bakery on Commercial Street. Still, former employee Percy Burt said if a miracle happened, he’d go back.

“Yeah, if somebody opened it I would go back. But I think I need to look for something else right now,” Burt said.

Other former Hostess workers said there was a definite feeling at the job fair that it was time to move on. And both workers and organizers hope the job fair will speed up the moving process.

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