slaughterhouse fight: a look at the hormel strike
As one commentator has described it: Everyone’s work was changed, sped up, pressured, and tied to external pacing and new standards. 12 0 obj This eventuality had never really been confronted or planned for by local leaders. A look back at the Hormel Strike. 36 0 obj Guyette and 150 strikers shouted him down and announced that they would take their own vote. Some of the new technology had inadequate safety features — like automatic back saws with no safety guards. AUSTIN DAILY HERALD. Ideas & Action, 7. The new union’s name was then changed to “North American Meat Packers Union.”. Hormel Foods Corporation is a food company based in Austin, Minnesota that produces Spam luncheon meat. After all the media attention and the hundreds who have attended the support rallies, what’s left is the remnants of a proud local union fighting a lonely battle against company greed and AFL-CIO betrayal. 53 0 obj Hormel recently announced that its profits were down 25.7% from the second quarter of last year, due to the strike. Members of Local P â¦ Ham-boners, for instance, were required to do 93 an hour. Even before the trusteeship was imposed, Joe Hansen made an unconditional offer to Hormel for the strikers to return to work. 24 0 obj Even boring speeches were interrupted by standing ovations again and again. It was not going to be easy selling this deal. The day the plant opened there was no mass civil disobedience or publicity campaigns. His travels took him to Austin and he decided to settle there, borrow $500, and open a meat business. To the employing class, Hormel’s callousness and arrogance are just “smart business practices.”. But when workers’ efforts to mount an effective fight against employer power and to control their own struggle come into conflict with the top-down hierarchies in the unions, as at Hormel, the need and opportunity for new organization is clearly demonstrated. In the case of the J.P. Stevens campaign, Rogers’ campaign dwelled upon the fact that Stevens had more violations of labor laws than anyone else. Working with her on that book, I got a pretty significant understanding of the Wilson & Company strike that occurred there in 1959. âSlaughterhouse Fight: A Look at the Hormel Strike. But in the current climate of employer aggression, Hormel is just following the present trend, justified among business leaders as a “battle to become more competitive.” The leaders of Continental, Iowa Beef Processors, the Chicago Tribune and Phelps-Dodge would certainly not say that Hormel is particularly “unfair” to its workers. 1 0 obj 1 Another twist in Rogers’ emphasis upon “public opinion” is the consumer boycott of Hormel products. In their collective defiance of the heads of the UFCW International Union, the Hormel strikers have raised the question, Who shall run the labor movement, the careerist, top-down hierarchy of the AFL-CIO-type unions, or the rank and file whose lives are directly affected? Affiliation of workers in different workplaces with the same AFL-CIO-type “international union” only guarantees subordination to a common central bureaucracy. Though material had been published on the safety problems in Hormel’s new plant, Corporate Campaign’s overwhelming emphasis had been on the money issue — a profitable company cutting wages. <> x��X]o�6}����T���o�(��I�ep���Їb�-�Zdɓ�ٯߡ(ۢc%m���";"/��9�^z|V7�"�5�ի��~���$����������(�&�1qe݃Mꛑ�4��BS��A���k��:-�b�?�\����h�>��֙���������1#(�&�DM��9���#��v�E�U]fEA~+����J(������(�7ysO. 71 0 obj âParty members from Twin Cities would regularly come down to sell the Militant outside the plant at shift change, helping us get to know workers beyond the departments we worked in,â Trowe said. Meanwhile, local P-40 in Wisconsin and local P-6 in Albert Lea, Minnesota, are refusing to pay their per capita dues to the International until the trusteeship is removed fromm local P-9. The Hormel Strike led to an effort of meat packing workers to form a new, national worker controlled union in that industry â based on experience of the way the UFCW paid apparatus acts to thwart the development of an effective struggle against the employers. The strikers would be holding the $100 million plant hostage. Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) is a food company based in southeastern Minnesota (Mower County), perhaps best known as the producer of Spam luncheon meat. The strike was a long process with many turns and developments; the story did not unfold overnight, and there were many points during the negotiations at which both the company and the union got to make important decisions; ... Slaughterhouse fight: A look at the Hormel strike. 3 0 obj Rogers and his supporters in local P-9 preached “civil disobedience” yet a plant occupation would have been the most effective form of “disobedience.” A plant occupation may be illegal, but it is also illegal to block streets with cars. George A. Hormel (born 1860 in Buffalo, New York) worked in a Chicago slaughterhouse before becoming a traveling wool and hide buyer. When Hormel began production in January, it would have been possible to break into the plant and carry out a sit-down strike. But in 1984 the International proposed a $1.69 per hour wage cut for Hormel workers outside Austin (from $10.69 to $9 per hour). endorse its objectives. On January 25th the Hormel plant at Ottumwa, Iowa was shut down by a march of hundreds of pickets to the gates. And obviously Rogers’ strategy did not avoid arrests or police violence. The $20 million in concessions helped to finance Hormel’s new $100 million plant in Austin. Hormel sells food under â¦ Prince 12.5 (www.princexml.com) P-9 then sent out roving pickets to spread the strike and shut down production at the other plants in the Hormel chain. In other words, the union apparatus must be preserved, even against the workers themselves. The magazine is currently suspended. When the pickets arrived at the Hormel operation in Atlanta, they discovered that the UFCW had only a minimal organizing effort going on. SUNDAY, AUGUST 15, 2010 Hormel Strike. Having broken through the protective circle of vehicles, the cops moved in to arrest picketers. The national standard was necessary to prevent wages from being undercut by competition from low-wage producers. The rule of thumb in meatpacking today is that each company will squeeze or discard the UFCW for the lowest wages and the worst conditions it can get. 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