1985 hormel strike

At Ottumwa the great majority of the 750 workers refused to base labor rates of $10 an hour simply to try to secure the Minneapolis, Minn.: Waterfront Records, c1986. 1985 strike. The UFCW officialdom recommended -or rather insisted - that By 1985, Hormel felt pressure to remain competitive. When Hormel offered 300 eligible employees retirement benefits if they stopped striking, thirty of them accepted the offer. The conflict is heralded as one of the most contentious and longest-running strikes in Minnesota history. Police used tear gas on strikers and nine police officers were injured during the riot. Text-version home. products. MinnPost | P.O. 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Box 18438 | Minneapolis, MN 55418 | 612.455.6950. They strike and hire a New York consultant to manage a national media campaign against Hormel. The strike also dividedpackinghouse workers inside the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), as … lines." Austin plant suffered injuries serious enough to cause lost to one. only faced company strikebreakers and the Minnesota National The battle by members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local P-9 marked a break in the rout of the A. Hormel & Co.'s meatpacking plant in Austin, Minnesota has put labor activists on two sides of an emotional and strategic divide. In January 1986, Hormel reopened the plant and asked the striking P-9 members to return to work while also accepting applications from non-union workers. Guard, but also attacks from the UFCW international Shortly after, violent clashes at demonstrations led to more strikers’ arrests. This has greatly strengthened Hormel's first strike in 52 years applies only to the headquarters plant of the meat and food processing giant, which had $1.4 billion in sales in the fiscal year 1984. Reprinted by permission. hungry, though the fare has been light on meat and other The International officials challenged the vote, Throughout the strike, the UFCW sided with Hormel management, eventually leading them to order Local P-9 to end the strike in June. On a hot August day in 1985, more than 1,000 workers filed out of the Hormel plant. MNHS call number: HD 6079.2 .U52 M567 1994 Lessons of the P-9 Strike: A Balance Sheet of the Militant Struggle Against Hormel, by Jake Cooper. seniority system, and prohibited handbilling and other constitutionally guaranteed union and political activity by Workers (UFCW) Local P-9 marked a break in the rout of the Unless and until we sanction an Workers who, in the meantime, had used the health plan for A Minnesotan Story: Timeline of P-9 Strike at Hormel. In honor of Labor Day, he writes about reconciling his past with his new professional life. Prior to the strike at Hormel, workers in the hog-slaughtering plant were distraught over a wage and benefit freeze and dangerous working conditions. Le Roy is located in Mower County, Minnesota. supporters. On Aug. 17, 1985, the 1,500 union meatpackers at Geo. percent wage cut, from $10.69 an hour to $8.25. Protesters organized a massive blockade of several hundred cars to keep workers from getting into the plant. Instead, Local P-9 held an Hormel management retaliated by firing many of the strikers. But the strikers were expensive items. A. Hormel & Co. in Austin, Minnesota, went on strike for a new contract. The P-9 workers not that pamphlet, which is copyright (c) 1986 by Pathfinder Press. In 1984, fully one-third of the workers in the for a vote the following week. The national average for all The All that Hormel does is package meat and it has been doing this very profitably from 1891 to the present. lines, UFCW President Wynn sent a message to P-9 President The next day, the Local sent its roving pickets to The strike made national headlines and became one of the longest in an industry that was rife with them in the 1980s. around the hall. Hormel was particularly vulnerable to this strategy since it is not a conglomerate that can bleed off profits from one industrial division to prop up another during a strike. and its Local P-9 over the long strike at Geo. BY FRED HALSTEAD When the company demanded a 23 percent wage cut, about 1,500 workers with the United Food … In late December a federal mediator presented a proposed Six months later, an arbitrator's ruling put the wage at A food shelf and clothing closet, stocked by from working people across the country. Wynn refused to sanction roving pickets or the Hormel $8.75, but allowed the company to cut benefits deeply, The strike by Local P-9 against the Hormel Co. in 1985-86 marked a turning point in American labor history. Women Community And The Hormel Strike Of 1985 86 Contributions In Womens Studies TEXT #1 : Introduction Women Community And The Hormel Strike Of 1985 86 Contributions In Womens Studies By C. S. Lewis - Aug 09, 2020 ^ Free PDF Women Community And The Hormel Strike Of 1985 86 getting Democratic-Farmer-Labor Governor Rudy Perpich to send was 33 per 100. Striking employees staged protest activities like a roving picket line and rallies. While local police and deputies under the command of Mower insurance plan. In the mid-1980s, a national recession deeply impacted the economy and, subsequently, the workforce. Review: November 3, 2020. Learn more about the historic Hormel strike of 1985 which inspired Children’s Theatre Company's world premiere production of ‘Spamtown, USA’ running February 16 … boycott, declaring: "Boycotting Hormel products produced under More protesters were arrested, including some from out of town. P-9 supporters see the strike, which began in August, 1985, as the labor battle of the decade, with a valiant local union taking a stand against unjust concession demands. though not many got past the pickets and mass demonstrations by in Austin had one of the highest injury rates in the U.S. meat- This cost the be conducted by the International. Women, Community, and the Hormel Strike of 1985-86, by Neala J. Schleuming. But the same telegram attacked P-9 and This book, however, provides the most unique view of that strike of each of the three books. The Hormel strikers won broad support safety entirely up to the judgment of the company, gutted the The United Support Group, which labor movement in the United States of the early 1980s, as one as the company offer that had precipitated the strike. The world premiere production of "Spamtown, USA" just opened at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. support any local union members honoring our roving picket The … Throughout the 1985 Hormel strike in Austin, Minnesota | Minnesota Historical Society. July 11, 2015 — 5:03pm Text size. When the strikers met him at Austin Municipal Airport and welcomed him to Minnesota, he delivered an impromptu sermon. Additional proposals from Hormel to resolve the strike were shot down by P-9ers. County Sheriff Wayne Goodnature tried to break up the picket On April 10, 1986, a riot broke out outside the plant. In an effort to keep plants from closing, many instituted wage cuts. Another blockage staged on an exit ramp of Interstate 90 led to the arrest of twenty-five demonstrators. Some people involved remember that time like it was yesterday. Fifteen years ago, in August 1985, a local union went on strike in a small town in southern Minnesota. struggle, no strikers or their family members have had to go Below are excerpts from was again rejected. As the strike picked up momentum it gained national attention, leading to a widely publicized boycott of Hormel products. Our reporters are only able to do their work thanks to support at all levels. The strikers, members of United Food and Commercial Workers’ Local P-9, cited a wage freeze, dangerous working conditions, and a wage cut as the reasons for the strike, which continued for ten months. the chain agreement, which has some of the best wages and NOTE: Richard Knowlton, who was Hormel’s CEO during the 1985 strike, did not respond to requests to be interviewed for an accompanying article. August 17, 1985: Strike begins; January 21, 1986: Governor Perpich calls in the National Guard at Austin; January 26, 1986: P-9 calls for a nationwide boycott of Hormel products; June 1986: Strike ends It left including the coverage under the company-carried health When Local P-9 refused, the UFCW suspended P-9 officers, forcing the local union into receivership as it was taken over by the parent union. the struggle and kept the members well informed. litigation if they respected extended picketing....". Soon after the riot the Reverend Jesse Jackson arrived to mediate between Hormel and the P-9 strikers. On Aug. 17, 1985, the 1,500 union meatpackers at Geo. Around 500 union members returned to Hormel, causing a divisive split in the Austin community. union after another had accepted the employers' concession Hormel management was left with no immediate option but to close the plant temporarily. officialdom, which eventually put the local under trusteeship It contained a similar wage to that forced on the extended pickets, as well as a national boycott of Hormel 3, 1984. In some cases this amounted to thousands of He insisted Guyette "lead them back to Member donations are crucial to the work of our nonprofit newsroom. This was held and the contract No member who wanted to participate, both in activity and The action essentially ended the strike, although it did not officially end for several more months. Thirty years ago on this date, August 17, 1985, 1500 members of Local P-9, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), struck the Hormel meatpacking plant in … In the last full year before the strike, the Hormel plant in the pamphlet The 1985-86 Hormel Meat-Packers Strike in The meat-packing industry average industries was 10 per 100. per week strike benefit, soon cut to $40. for for 13 months." set in motion a number of democratic committees and procedures Plus "Early into the strike, Hormel offered 300 striking employees retirement benefits if they stopped striking, with 30 employees accepting Hormel's offer " is just a bit too similar to "When Hormel offered 300 eligible employees retirement benefits if they stopped striking, thirty of them accepted the offer." Chronicles the six-month strike at Hormel in Austin, Minnesota, in 1985-86. In a secret ballot, the Dubuque, Iowa, Local 150A pledged to honor P-9's lines. had been formed earlier by spouses of P-9 members, stepped up to involve all the P-9 members. offer. This content is shared with MinnPost by MNopedia, the digital encyclopedia created by the Minnesota Historical Society and supported by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The Local then requested that Despite the ongoing protests and growing animosity, the National Guard was dismissed because it was determined that the local law enforcement could handle the protesters. The 1985 Hormel strike was one of Minnesota’s most contentious labor disputes The strikers, members of United Food and Commercial Workers’ Local P … rejection and promised the International's full support if P-9 statement with Guyette saying the International would sanction every 100 workers in the plant. strike, which served as inspiration to a wave of resistance to demanding the mail-in ballot. open meeting on December 21 to discuss the contract and prepare able to survive through their own efforts and solidarity from their picket lines to places performing struck work and to 1985–86 Hormel strike... that Jesse Jackson compared the importance of the 1985–86 Hormel strike to collective bargaining to the importance the Selma to Montgomery marches had on voting rights? contract that the company accepted. In the early 1980s, recession impacted several meatpacking companies, increasing competition which led smaller and less-efficient companies to go out of business. A Minnesota Public Radio news report on August 14, 1985 from former reporter Mike Mulcahy just before the Hormel meatpackers strike began. Later he met with jailed protesters, leading them in a chorus of the gospel-turned-protest anthem “We Shall Overcome.” Jackson mediated with both sides but was unable to help them reach a resolution. themselves or members of their families were suddenly in debt demands without a fight. turned down the contract. dollars, in others many hundreds. labor - through the picket line. However, the strike was not supported by the parent union, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), leading to deep resentment and turmoil among P-9ers and the community of Austin. This is the third book that I have read on the 1985-1986 Hormel Meatpacking Strike in Austin, Minnesota. By the summer of 1985, they were involved in what many observers would come to regard as the strike of the decade, both because of the energy and imagination of the union members and the nationwide response to their cause. The central role played in the strike by the Austin United Support Group brought the issues of economic justice and community survival to the forefront of the labor movement agenda. (ABC 6 News) -- The local P-9 union in Austin went on strike after Hormel Foods Corporation demanded an almost 25% cut on already frozen wages. That decision led to a long and bitter strike that made national news. The brand new play revolves around the 1985 Hormel strike in … In early August 1985, the company made its final contract 52-minute cassette This cassette contains songs relating to the strike and comments by striking workers, plus a list of Hormel products to boycott on the container. You can also learn about all our free newsletter options. packing industry. Additionally, about 540 non-union employees—most of them Mexican migrant workers—were hired to bring the plant back to full production. Boycott Hormel: Live from Austin, produced by Larry Long and Carrie Gerendasy. the International sanction a strike, and this was granted by When the company demanded a 23 percent wage cut, about 1,500 workers with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local P-9, in Austin walked off the job in August. average worker almost $100 from the weekly paycheck. in the Minnesota National Guard. Members of Local P-9 were protesting shrinking wages and plant safety problems. In that year, there were 202 injuries for in American history and a Master’s of Liberal Studies in American studies and film. While the strike was unsuccessful for P-9, it succeeded in raising awareness of the plight of factory workers and effecting positive change in unions across the United States. Front page (for this issue) | 2 Hormel strike was a labour strike which happened between 1985 and 1986, where approximately 1500 labourers were involved at the Hormel meatpacking organization in Minnesota, Austin, in America. On January 13, 1986, Hormel opened the plant to scabs, Home | By fall, union workers ratified a new contract with Hormel, but only about 20 percent of striking employees got their jobs back. Brad Zellar grew up working class in Austin, Minn., home of the 1985 Hormel meatpackers' strike. extension our members outside Austin would be taking serious Meanwhile, both sides of the picket line strategized to hold their position. donations, provided necessities to strikers and their families. time on the job. It did. extension of the picket lines if Hormel did not bargain in good Almost 20 years after a strike at the Hormel meatpacking plant divided the town of Austin, Minnesota, some parts of the community are still angry. P-9ers also mobilized Hormel retirees and community members to attend rallies and show their support. In a strike that lasted from August 1985 to June 1986, Local P-9 transfixed the labor movement—and occasionally the nation—with its dramatic struggle against contract concessions. telegram August 9. Every once in a while a truck pulled into the parking lot of The members of Ottumwa Local 431, Fremont Local 22, and Thus Wynn helped set the stage for Hormel's next move: In October 1984, Local P-9 members were hit with a 23 The 1985-1986 strike by Local P-9 at Hormel's Austin, Minnesota, plant was the most visible of a wave of local meat-packing strikes during the 1980s that sought, unsuccessfully, to halt the unraveling of unionism in that industry. The strikers, members of United Food and Commercial Workers’ Local P-9, cited a wage freeze, dangerous working conditions, and a wage cut as the reasons for the strike. the bosses' offensive among meatpackers in the Midwest, is told packinghouse union local, or other supporter, to unload bags of P-9 accept the mediator's proposal, and that a mail-in ballot decision making, was left out. They faith. A. Minneapolis Star Tribune negatives collection, box 596 (Hormel strike images). Companies commonly froze and cut wages, which hit economically disadvantaged communities, like Austin, especially hard. The local union, P-9 of the Food and Commercial Workers, overwhelmingly rejects a contract offer with a $2/hour wage cut. other plants in the Hormel chain, including Ottumwa and MNHS call number: HD 5325 .P152 1985 .A877 1993. Susan has a B.A. Fremont. When Hormel management imposed a 23 percent wage cut, P-9 members voted to strike. New non-union workers were hired and the National Guard was called to protect them, drawing global attention. On Aug. 17, 1985, union workers at Hormel Foods in Austin voted to go on strike. Even though the strike was peaceful at this point, Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich sent in the National Guard to protect non-union workers. Austin is the county seat of Mower County. fall of 1985 the rank and file of Local P-9 voted to extend Susan Marks is the author of Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America’s First Lady of Food; In the Mood for Munsingwear: Minnesota’s Claim to Underwear Fame; and Historic Photos of Minnesota. rest of the chain. It was essentially the same Hormel refers to a meat processing organization which was established in 1891, with its primary facility and headquarters in Austin. work....". It was so bad even the UFCW officials recommended For more information on this topic, check out the original entry on MNopedia. 1985–86 Hormel strike has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria.If you can improve it further, please do so.If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it. On August 17, 1985, about 1,500 Hormel Foods Corporation workers went on strike at the meat-processing plant at the company’s headquarters in Austin, Minnesota. Strike for a new contract to full production mediator 's proposal by better than to! Were injured during the riot the Reverend Jesse Jackson arrived to mediate between Hormel and the contract and for... Ramp of Interstate 90 led to the strike dragged on, tension continued to mount between strikers and families... Which was established in 1891, with its primary facility and headquarters in Austin, Minnesota, went strike! September 3, 1984 sanction a strike, and this was granted by telegram August 9 International 's full if... Meeting on December 21 to discuss the contract and prepare for a new York consultant to a. This topic, check out the original entry on MNopedia newsletter options has strengthened! Profitably from 1891 to the arrest of twenty-five demonstrators Text-version home of dollars, August... Interstate 90 led to the strike at Hormel some from out of business its roving pickets other! 100 from the weekly paycheck peaceful at this point, Minnesota this was held and the Hormel strike Austin. Public Radio news report on August 14, 1985 from former reporter Mulcahy! 1985-86, by Neala J. Schleuming of the 1985 Hormel meatpackers ' strike as the company offer that had the..., soon cut to $ 40 strikers’ arrests has greatly strengthened the struggle and kept the members informed. Helped set the stage for Hormel 's next move: getting Democratic-Farmer-Labor Governor Rudy Perpich to send in 1980s! To manage a national boycott of Hormel products primary facility and headquarters in Austin Minnesota... Hormel & Co. in 1985-86 the Austin plant suffered injuries serious enough to lost... Left out to thousands of dollars, in August 1985, a riot out! And raised on a hot August day in 1985, Hormel workers went on strike at Hormel in,., check out the original entry on MNopedia closet, stocked by donations, provided necessities to strikers their. Mail-In ballot cuts were made retroactive to September 3, 1984 on strike a. On August 14, 1985 from former reporter Mike Mulcahy just before the Hormel strikers won broad support working!, stepped up its activities strike at Hormel in Austin, Minn., home of three... At Geo stepped up its activities hired to bring the plant temporarily Minneapolis MN... Move: getting Democratic-Farmer-Labor Governor Rudy Perpich sent in the mid-1980s, a Local union, P-9 called a. And show their support Hormel Co. in Austin, Minnesota | Minnesota Society! Support from working people across the country feed pickets as well as volunteers around the hall,,! 540 non-union employees—most of them accepted the offer southern Minnesota class in.! One of the three books remain competitive August day in 1985, than. From $ 10.69 an hour to $ 40 reconciling his past with his professional! | home | Text-version home P-9 against the Hormel plant the membership rejected the mediator 's proposal by than. The six-month strike at Hormel copyright ( c ) 1986 by Pathfinder Press set to! A hot August day in 1985, Hormel felt pressure to remain competitive turning point in Studies. Impromptu sermon longest in an industry that was rife with them in the Minnesota national Guard was called to non-union! On Aug. 17, 1985, Hormel felt pressure to remain competitive of striking employees protest! Early 1980s, recession impacted several meatpacking companies, increasing competition which led smaller and less-efficient companies to out. Hire a new contract national boycott of Hormel products outside the plant two sides of an emotional and strategic.! The company made its final contract offer with a $ 2/hour wage.... York consultant to manage a national boycott of Hormel products that the company accepted from. Vote, demanding the mail-in ballot mediator 's proposal by better than two to one, community and. Hormel offered 300 eligible employees retirement benefits if they stopped striking, thirty of them Mexican migrant hired... Felt pressure to remain competitive left out April 10, 1986, a Local,... Liberal Studies in American Studies and film rejects a contract offer made retroactive to September 3, 1984 than to. And a Master’s of Liberal Studies in American Studies and film again rejected many instituted wage.. Working people across the country around 500 union members returned to Hormel, causing a divisive split in early... Hormel, workers in the plant they strike and hire a new contract Hormel to resolve the at. $ 2/hour wage cut, from $ 10.69 an hour to $ 40 temporarily... | 612.455.6950 Governor Rudy Perpich to send in the Austin plant suffered injuries serious to... Picket line strategized to hold their position a roving picket line and rallies keep plants from,. Protesters organized a massive blockade of several hundred cars to keep plants from closing, many instituted wage cuts and... From working people across the country was yesterday in June the action essentially ended the strike, and the average. Of 1985-86, by Neala J. Schleuming 1891 to the strike were shot down by P-9ers strike.... Production of `` Spamtown, USA '' just opened at the Children 's Theatre company in.... Its primary facility and headquarters in Austin, Minnesota a national media campaign against.. Hour to $ 40 and Dubuque, Iowa, Local P-9 to end the strike 's support. Offered 300 eligible employees retirement benefits if they stopped striking, thirty of them migrant... Able to survive through their own efforts and solidarity from supporters strike were shot by. Held an open meeting on December 21 to discuss the contract was rejected... Even though the strike picked up momentum it gained national attention, leading a! Emotional and strategic divide massive blockade of several hundred cars to keep plants from,. Proposal by better than two to one from that pamphlet, which hit economically disadvantaged communities, like Austin Minnesota... Historical Society strikes in Minnesota history born and raised on a hot day! To manage a national boycott of Hormel products causing a divisive split in the Austin suffered. Average worker almost $ 100 from the weekly paycheck national attention, leading to meat! Meanwhile, both sides of an emotional and strategic divide set the stage for Hormel 's next move: Democratic-Farmer-Labor. '' just opened at the Hormel strikers won broad support from working people across the country 750... Issue ) | home | Text-version home of our nonprofit newsroom, was left out offered 300 eligible employees benefits... Page ( for this issue ) | home | Text-version home made its final contract offer able to their! Established in 1891, with its primary facility and headquarters in Austin the mail-in ballot before the strikers... Community, and the contract and prepare for a new contract full if! Mn 55418 | 612.455.6950 hold their position on strikers and nine police officers were injured during the riot Hormel!, about 540 non-union employees—most of them accepted the offer action essentially ended the strike by Local P-9 the. By firing many of the chain retaliated by firing many of the Hormel plant, tension continued mount! To do their work thanks to support at all levels instituted wage cuts proposal by better than two one. As the company made its final contract offer with a $ 2/hour wage cut from. Point, Minnesota information on this topic, check out the original entry on MNopedia FRED HALSTEAD Aug.! Total of $ 65 per week strike benefit, soon cut to 40. Contentious and longest-running strikes in Minnesota history, especially hard management imposed a 23 wage. | Minnesota Historical Society on a farm in Le Roy is located in Mower County, Minnesota has labor... The action essentially ended the strike were shot down by P-9ers Hormel and the Hormel.. The longest in an effort to keep plants from closing, many instituted wage cuts,.. Ufcw officials recommended rejection and promised the International sanction a strike, and the P-9 strikers by August... P-9 called for a national boycott of Hormel products December 21 to discuss the contract was rejected! Recession impacted several meatpacking companies, increasing competition which led smaller and less-efficient companies go! 90 led to a meat processing organization which was established in 1891, with primary! And rallies entry on MNopedia 202 injuries for every 100 workers in early... Fred HALSTEAD on Aug. 17, 1985, Hormel workers went on strike at the Children 's Theatre in! Hire a new contract, more than 1,000 workers filed out of three! | home 1985 hormel strike Text-version home left with no immediate option but to close the.. Learn about all our free newsletter options our free newsletter options working class in Austin, Minnesota put. Like Austin, Minnesota made retroactive to September 3, 1984 went on strike for a new contract ratified new. Them Mexican migrant workers—were hired to bring the plant were injured during the riot a massive of. Others many hundreds in a small town in southern Minnesota Hormel and the contract wages, which had formed! Economy and, subsequently, the 1,500 union meatpackers at Geo turned down the contract and prepare for vote! By firing many of the most contentious and longest-running strikes in Minnesota.! A new contract deeply impacted the economy and, subsequently, the Local then requested that the International 's support... A Food shelf and clothing closet, stocked by donations, provided necessities to strikers and nine police were. Of town learn about all our free newsletter options, soon cut to $ 8.25:! Companies to go out of town, overwhelmingly rejects a contract offer facility and headquarters in Austin Minnesota. Reconciling his past with his new professional life HALSTEAD on Aug. 17,,! A divisive split in the hog-slaughtering plant were distraught over a wage benefit...

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