The honorable governor was worried about the political fallout from a major confrontation between the Guard and large groups of strike supporters. The model for Corporate Campaign is Rogers’ campaign for the Amalgamated Clother and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) against J.P. Stevens, which achieved union recognition against a notoriously nonunion Southern employer. Even boring speeches were interrupted by standing ovations again and again. But in the fall of ’83, Hormel decided to take advantage of the concessions fever then sweeping the industry and announced that it was lowering wages in pursuit of the UFCW’s “national standard” which had already become a pathetic joke. Yet direct action by workers to defend their picket lines against the job-stealing of the scabs is perfectly legitimate, no matter what capitalist legality may say about it. <>4]/P 6 0 R/Pg 58 0 R/S/Link>> At that point the strikers’ numbers and enthusiasm were at a peak, and the “forces of order” could have been taken by surprise. On a hot August day in 1985, more than 1,000 workers filed out of the Hormel plant. local p-9 of the united food and commercial workers union (ufcw), made up of workers at hormel's main plant at austin, minnesota, has attempted to break out of isolation in several ways: a Hormel is an American meat processing company … In 1982 the UFCW’s Lewie Anderson negotiated a new national contract for the Hormel plants. %PDF-1.7 %���� The weakness of P-9’s position has been its inability to close down operations at the Austin plant. This is done by trying to show how the targeted employer is especially unfair to its workforce. By MIKE ALEWITZ Thirty-five years ago, 1500 members of Local P-9, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), struck the Hormel meat-packing plant in Austin, Minnesota. It ended as a… Guyette and 150 strikers shouted him down and announced that they would take their own vote. On April 14th and 15th the UFCW International held hearings on its proposal to place local P-9 in trusteeship. Some of the new technology had inadequate safety features — like automatic back saws with no safety guards. 3 0 obj At that time they had gotten a better deal than everybody else. Local P-9 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), made up of workers at Hormel’s main plant at Austin, Minnesota, has attempted to break out of isolation in several ways: a “Corporate Campaign” that tried to bring consumer pressure against Hormel’s main bank, a consumer boycott of Hormel meat products, and by roving pickets sent to other Hormel plants. When the pickets arrived at the Hormel operation in Atlanta, they discovered that the UFCW had only a minimal organizing effort going on. Most unionized supermarket clerks belong to the UFCW. Slaughterhouse Fight: A Look at the Hormel Strike. The strikers quickly ran throughout the plant to chase out non-union workers. Hard-Pressed in the Heartland: The Hormel Strike and the Future of the Labor Movement. Management was talking about getting a 20% increase in productivity out of the new facility. x��{T[י>���4��ud��u|�dYs��������ةB�8�\�M����סZ�`. The Hormel strikers proposed a new national union that would not have power concentrated in a national executive board, but would have coordination through a rank-and-file delegates council. endobj 52 0 obj 1 0 obj Later, William Wynn and Lane Kirkland stood cheek to jowl for the press while Wynn dencounces the “fascist tactics” of P-9. UWWUYYW[\\WVTY[[Y]X\\_][^_[Y_]ac^]\\`bb`ddbfgba`dgfdhchjigklgfljnglnjnqomqsnmqoslqstrvwrqotvxvzsxz|xvv{}|z}z~��}|�~�|��~���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������\ The differential in pay between what P-9 wanted and what Hormel offered had been steadily narrowed by arbitrators’ rulings before the strike and mediators proposals after the strike began. When Hormel began production in January, it would have been possible to break into the plant and carry out a sit-down strike. So move out!” (Larry Engelmann, “We Were the Poor — The Hormel Strike of 1933,” Labor History, Fall, 1974.). The Hormel Strike led to an effort of meat packing workers to form a new, national worker controlled union in that industry — based on experience of the way the UFCW paid apparatus acts to thwart the development of an effective struggle against the employers. SUNDAY, AUGUST 15, 2010 Hormel Strike. With a large part of the workforce locked out, there was little production at the Ottumwa plant. In the Twin Cities area an informal group of local union officials, rank and file activists, sympathetic academics, revolutionary veterans of the ’30s and assorted leftists had become the Metro Support Committee. On National Public Radio Lewie Anderson said that the problem now at Hormel was that the workers made too much money and this would make the company unprofitable and lead to loss of jobs. SUNDAY, AUGUST 15, 2010 Hormel Strike. endobj The labor struggle in the meatpacking industry has faced some of the most brutal, dangerous, racist and unsanitary conditions in American industry. The history of the Hormel struggle demonstrates once again how the present top-down union Internationals are bound to be in conflict with the rank and file who want control over their own movement and militant solidarity against the employers. uuid:6d952d5a-ad52-11b2-0a00-20aff525fd7f A look back at the Hormel Strike. At best this could only work to bring a particularly nasty employer up to currently prevailing level of exploitation and arrogance among employers. endstream Rogers began to threaten mass civil disobedience and the media started to call him the Martin Luther King of the labor movement. Archive of ideas & action Articles. On Saturday, April 12th, another 3,000-strong rally assembled in Austin, with supporters from all over the country. Only 1,750 workers were employed in the new plant when it opened in 1982 — less than half as many as worked in the old plant. : On Strike at Hormel : The Struggle for a Democratic Labor Movement by Hardy Green (1991, Trade Paperback) at the best online prices at eBay! Even before the trusteeship was imposed, Joe Hansen made an unconditional offer to Hormel for the strikers to return to work. A Hormel & Co. threatens to move meatpacking operations out of Austin. endorse its objectives. Among those who did care, support was growing as the contract expiration drew near. As of June [1986], P-9ers were claiming that only about 700-to-800 people were working in the Austin plant; the company, on the other hand, claims it now has 1,050 people working. The NPR reporter commented that he sounded very much like a company spokesman. What the surprised membership of P-9 discovered, when they got a copy of the contract from the International, was that the alleged provision prohibiting wage reductions was missing. This last step was the most significant in that it would prevent Hormel from shortages of product should the Austin plnat be shut down. The magazine is currently suspended. Workers’ first concern may be their on-the-job situation but the International union heads do not share those conditions and their first concern is the survival of the union as a bureaucratic institution. Most of the actual strike support and fund-raising has been done under the auspices of the United Support Group, which is formally independent of the union. 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. <>25]/P 34 0 R/Pg 55 0 R/S/Link>> By the end of the week the National Guard was in place and the area around the plant was placed under martial law. His travels took him to Austin and he decided to settle there, borrow $500, and open a meat business. The final company offer waas for $10 per hour for the current workforce. Though Minnesota’s Farmer-Labor Party governor at the time, Floyd Olson, denounced the strikers’ “illegal possession of the plant,” the company threw in the towel after four days of worker occupation of the plant. All that Hormel does is package meat and it has been doing this very profitably from 1891 to the present. endobj endobj It changed its name to Hormel Foods in 1993. The IWW had led a major strike of mine workers on the Messabi iron ore range in Minnesota in 1916. It didn’t work. Discontented workers in the hog kill department got together with with an experienced Wobbly (IWW) organizer, named Frank Ellis, who was working as a foreman in another department. The usual argument against a new union is that it would be “divisive” while so many other workers in the same industry remain within the “official” union, in this case the UFCW. The plan had been to block the roads leading to the plant with circles of cars. At that point, Four hundred men, many of them armed with clubs, sticks and rocks, crashed through the plant entrance, shattering the glass doors and sweeping the guards before them. “CD” only produces arrests, it does not produce any power for the workers. Rogers is not a wealthy man but he is a businessman and his business is providing local unions with an alternative to going on strike. The shut down came on August 7th and stretched through the fall and into winter. 12 0 obj endobj Hormel recently announced that its profits were down 25.7% from the second quarter of last year, due to the strike. P-9 listened, and believed, and did not strike. Boston: South End. Hormel had already announced that a defeat of this proposal would trigger the opening of the plan with scabs and as many P-9 members as were willing to cross picket lines. 2019-12-31T09:44:58-08:00 But surely the UFCW International has proven itself to be an obstacle to worker solidarity. Ham-boners, for instance, were required to do 93 an hour. endobj Hormel Foods Corporation is a food company based in Austin, Minnesota that produces Spam luncheon meat. <> Nor are we saying that workers should abandon the struggle within the AFL-CIO-type unions against top-down bureaucratic control and against sell-outs. “Slaughterhouse Fight: A Look at the Hormel Strike. The Packinghouse Division of the UFCW was the inheritor of the traditions of the CIO United Packinghouse Workers Union (UPWA) and the AFL Amalgamated Meatcutters Union. 58 0 obj Over 1,500 had been employed there before the strike. What P-9 members got was a $3 per week assessment to pay for a $40,000 deal with Corporate Campaign, Inc. Rogers and his staff of ten make $425 a week with year-end bonuses of $1,000 (if business is good). endobj For five months, they kept the heat on Hormel with an effective, resourceful, well-run strike. 71 0 obj Local P-9 had wanted to restore the old $10.69 per hour standard wage. In other words, the union apparatus must be preserved, even against the workers themselves. The workers of Hormel’s Austin operations were first pressured to give concessions in the 1978 contract, which included a rigorous “no-strike” clause. Hormel handled the production side of the business and his partner, Albert Friedrich, handled the retail side. Slaughterhouse Fight: A Look at the Hormel Strike - How Hormel and the UFCW sabotaged Rank & File unionism in the P-9 Strike - By Steve Boyce, Jake Edwards, and Tom Wetzel (Summer 1986) A Strike by Any Other Name - By Natasha Moss-Dedrick (September 28, 2004) Alternatives to Reformism Within Existing Labor Law: 2011. “Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008. The UFCW mailing included a form letter, addressed to Hormel’s personnel manager, which states that the applicant is willing to take any job unconditionally. The rate was so fast that they could only sharpen their knives on the upswing, before plunging downward into another ham. The employers’ concessions drive soon became an epidemic. seniority rights) that defended workers against arbitrary management power. George A. Hormel (born 1860 in Buffalo, New York) worked in a Chicago slaughterhouse before becoming a traveling wool and hide buyer. A sit-down strike was how local P-9 was organized originally back in 1933. The local union president, Mel Maas, stood at the plant gates, along with representatives from the UFCW International, telling workers this was not a sanctioned picket and that they should go to work. After a year-long corporate campaign and ten months on strike, it wasn’t supposed to end this way. They have often had to fight against the union hierarchy as well as the employer. Management would think twice before ordering a cop assault to clear the plant of sit-down strikers. [57 0 R 60 0 R 61 0 R 63 0 R 65 0 R 66 0 R 67 0 R 68 0 R 69 0 R 70 0 R] After the IUAW went on strike against Hormel in ’33, the company attempted to start up a sheep kill with scabs. If transport workers and retail clerks refused to handle Hormel products, that would be a more effective form of boycott. 48 0 obj Research into Hormel’s stock ties and board of directors had turned up First Bank. Protest plans for Hormel’s annual shareholders meeting panicked the executives into moving the meeting to Atlanta. The strikers had the advantage of numbers. 15 0 obj The rally was fired up by the fact that 400 strikers and supporters had shut the plant down for several hours on Friday, beforre being dispersed by riot cops. The roving pickets had less success at the other Hormel plants. Yet there have been a number of militant, if isolated, struggles by workers who have put up a strong resistance. 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? Some losses but nothing approaching the publicity of the CIO management decisions at Hormel effective to! 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