Over 500 Hostess stores are closed in places all over the U.S. including Missoula. The struggle between upper management at Hostess and the worker's union has led to a nation wide halt as the two parties attempt to reach a working deal.

The row has caught the eye of Montana's Department of Labor and Industry largely because of the Hostess plant in Billings which provides jobs to between 300 and 500 people (the state could not give an exact number for privacy reasons).

Reports that a private equity firm called Sun Capital Partners is eying the Hostess brand have surfaced. Reportedly  Sun would keep the unionized workers on staff, however, it is unclear whether the Billings plant is being considered. Senior Economist at the Department of Labor and Industry, Barbara Wagner expresses concern over the viability of the plant itself.

"The union has said that there wasn't a lot of investment into their infrastructure and machines at the plant," explains Wagner, "if you are a new business purchasing, that's definitely something you'll consider; how much it will cost to get those machines up to standards."

Interview with Senior Economist Barbara Wagner:

There is still a chance current management can reach a resolution and if that happens, it is likely that the plant and the store in Missoula continue on.