(EMPORIA, Kan.) — They went on strike, then the company shut down; now hundreds of workers in Emporia and Lenexa try to take the next step after the closing of Hostess Brands.
A bankruptcy court approved Hostess' request to liquidate after a national strike by Baker's Union members. The liquidation left 700 Kansas workers unemployed. Now state and local agencies are teaming up to help them move forward.
A series of sessions hosted by the Southeast Kansas Works organization started Monday in Emporia. Emporia is home of the now-closed Dolly Madison bakery, which was owned by Hostess. The bakery was Emporia's second largest employer.
The sessions are helping laid-off workers with information on searching for jobs, writing resumes and going back to school. They are also helping workers deal with unemployment benefits. That has been the biggest question from former bakery workers, who say benefits haven't been approved.
"I filed for unemployment on the 11th, now it's the third of this month and now I got a denial letter in the mail saying I don't have the right information," said former Hostess worker William Cherry. "I'm frustrated that my family has got to suffer through this, now we don't know what we're going to do."
The Kansas Department of Labor says it is waiting for a response from Hostess on each unemployment case. The department must get that response before providing any benefits.
A third session is set for Thursday at Flint Hills Technical College. That session is for engineers, Teamsters Union members and non-union members. Kansas Works also plans a job fair next Wednesday at Flint Hills Mall.
Click here for more information from Southeast Kansas Works.