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Published: Thursday, 10/11/2007

Union talks may seal fate of local bread plant

Dough heads for ovens inside the Interstate bakery in Northwood. The owner is in bankruptcy and the plant could be sold. Dough heads for ovens inside the Interstate bakery in Northwood. The owner is in bankruptcy and the plant could be sold.
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The Wonder Bread plant in Northwood would be among operations of Interstate Bakeries Corp. that could be sold if the bankrupt firm can't reach an agreement with the Teamsters union, a spokesman said.

Interstate, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004, is trying to win concessions from union members who deliver baked goods.

Lew Phelps, a spokesman for the company, which is based in Kansas City, said it would be forced to liquidate operations if an agreement can't be reached with the union, which represents 10,000 of the 25,000 workers employed by Interstate.

"But nothing has been decided at this point," he said.

A federal bankruptcy judge has given Interstate Bakeries five more weeks to file a reorganization plan.

The company opened a $28 million plant in 1998 with 120 employees that could produce 180 loaves of bread each minute, along with other products, such as croutons. It made Wonder, a white bread, and Home Pride, a wheat bread. Employment at the plant later increased to about 140.



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