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SACRAMENTO, CA - Ifstriking workers at Hostess plants across the country don't return to work by2 p.m. Thursday, the company will start the liquidation process first thing Friday in bankruptcy court, say officials.

That means roughly 18,500 Hostessworkers across the country could very soon be out of a job, including300 at the Sacramento plant off Arden Way.

When the2 p.m. deadline came and went, picketers continued their march in front of the Sacramento facility.

Strikes are happening at 24 of Hostess' 33 plants in the United States. The employees are not happy with a new labor contract that calls for cuts to health care benefits andan eight-percentsalary cut across the board.

Workers at the Sacramento facility say they're not on strike, but are just supporting their fellow bakers union members who are holding down the picket lines in other cities.

Hostess has already made moves to close plants in St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Seattle in response to the strike, and already 627 workers at those plants are out of a job.

The layoffs happened quickly, unlike the situation at the Campbell's soup plant in south Sacramento where many workers are still on the job through July.

The president of the bakers union says the workers are not willing to take the large wage and benefit cuts on top of concessions they already made in 2004, "just so that wall street vulture capitalists in control of the company can walk away with millions of dollars."

Some analysts say the long-time products likeTwinkies, Ding Dongs, and Wonderbread coulddisappear due to the situation, butothers believe Hostess' trademark treatswill live on after getting scooped up at auction and attached to products from other companies.

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