slaughterhouse fight: a look at the hormel strike

(See Strategy of Appeasement.) 1 AUSTIN DAILY HERALD. 3 0 obj The company was founded as George A. Hormel & Company in Austin by George A. Hormel in 1891. Ellis was one of a number of IWW butchers who migrated around the midwest from job to job in those days. 75 0 obj Archive of ideas & action Articles. ����k�-t��o�x^m�*&��$��D�b��.�Lz�����K�}8u1p�X��/��{�d�6ּ����ct"/��N&b�F��� 4VP�M���R�M�dh�,�:���P�܀���|�tX��� They put him in touch with Ray Rogers and Corporate Campaign, Inc. Ray Rogers is a man with a mission and that mission is to reshape the labor movement, for a price. 47 0 obj The strikers would be holding the $100 million plant hostage. It was on that understanding that the contract was ratified by Local P-9. Over 1,500 had been employed there before the strike. Lance A. Compa In the late 1990s, Trowe and several other SWP members worked at the Hormel slaughterhouse in Austin, 100 miles south of here. <>/P 35 0 R/S/Link>> It ended as a… At best this could only work to bring a particularly nasty employer up to currently prevailing level of exploitation and arrogance among employers. The roving pickets had less success at the other Hormel plants. A Publication of the Workers Solidarity Alliance. At that time they had gotten a better deal than everybody else. Rogers began to threaten mass civil disobedience and the media started to call him the Martin Luther King of the labor movement. Another twist in Rogers’ emphasis upon “public opinion” is the consumer boycott of Hormel products. 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. Since the AFL-CIO heads see corporate campaigns as a way to avoid strikes, they actually favor them, as the J.P. Stevens campaign demonstrates. ������������������������������������������¿�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������\ Hormel waited until after the trusteeship was upheld in court on June 2nd to agree to being negotiations. endobj As one commentator has described it: Everyone’s work was changed, sped up, pressured, and tied to external pacing and new standards. Management would think twice before ordering a cop assault to clear the plant of sit-down strikers. Among those who did care, support was growing as the contract expiration drew near. On June 9th petitions were filed with the National Labor Relations Board, signed by 800 P-9 strikers, to decertify the UFCW International in favor of an independent union. Members of Local P … The day the plant opened there was no mass civil disobedience or publicity campaigns. They have often had to fight against the union hierarchy as well as the employer. His pledge was exposed as a dishonest stalling tactic. The strikers had the advantage of numbers. 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. Hormel handled the production side of the business and his partner, Albert Friedrich, handled the retail side. First Bank blandly denied that it had anything to do with management decisions at Hormel. ideas & action was created in July, 1981 as an independent anarcho-syndicalist magazine. AppendPDF Pro 6.3 Linux 64 bit Aug 30 2019 Library 15.0.4 For five months, they kept the heat on Hormel with an effective, resourceful, well-run strike. endobj And seeing the scabs take their jobs is demoralizing for the strikers. 36 0 obj 46 0 obj Support in the community is fairly strong. What’s that spell?” Rogers told them again and again that they had the power and he would help them use it. <>stream 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. Kirkland lets it be known that from now on the AFL will try to intervene in disputes between Internationals and insurgent locals. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Labor and Social Change Ser. Instead there were hundreds of union men and women blocking the gates and the scabs did not pass that day or the next. 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. 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 strikers blew it. The new plant experienced a 120% increase in worker injuries. 2019-12-31T09:44:58-08:00 Montross’s hatchet job, prepared by leftists at the International’s headquarters, tried to portray the UFCW as the defender of “progressive” unionism while P-9 was denounced for “isolation, individualism, and division.” In the International’s eyes, “solidarity” means obedience to their orders, even if those orders ban actual solidarity. 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. <>/MediaBox[0 0 612 792]/Parent 9 0 R/Resources<>/Font<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageC]/XObject<>>>/StructParents 0/Tabs/S/Type/Page>> This last step was the most significant in that it would prevent Hormel from shortages of product should the Austin plnat be shut down. <> At the meeting before the Friday picketing, non-violence was stressed as it has been throughout the strike. <>3]/P 6 0 R/Pg 58 0 R/S/Link>> 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. ��k�J�C�]J�����}"s �!�k��X�5�h@�;�O$��^$w��Kd}ն��d]d�&k}bThHy��q����Ŀaxr=C1����G��RTX㮪�/0?�gա8y�k��7�P���`�N\/��+Bt�8p�Z~�np���)�@�뢻��-��d�o��p���p�w��O� �X�$�uw.x& }��h��K����׌�{�pK{�o���'F�_[Y�ˮq���Wfټ��s5�eu�Xq�?�s�qrGt�)a�x_��=����a���?������l�clA���7> On February 16th about 200 pickets from P-9 showed up at the FDL Foods plant in Dubuque. A fight which was not only right, which was fought "from below". Though Minnesota’s Farmer-Labor Party governor at the time, Floyd Olson, denounced the strikers’ “illegal possession of the plant,” the company threw in the towel after four days of worker occupation of the plant. A sit-down strike would have been the most effective way to shut down production and force Hormel to take the strikers’ concerns seriously. Liberating Thought: Toward an Independent Mass Media, Lessons from the Air Traffic Controllers’ Strike of 1981, Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective. 2011. “Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008. �&�2 �s��i���>��D�Yu���B�|�;ҥ-^PW�,Dw�4/�G�I^3��Xr�$�&�n�4���q�#�`cu�t�W��W9�u�4��kk�Ki�$�;�T��t�:?�ή'��s��}r]}��[��(oc��9̀��F/�n��6Pߺ��X��� ��+3SOW� �HD��$��j�)+R�� ��#|g�4l���`1]����5*�kx�-Y��yuWU:w]�U��=G8�i�ˀ>�(���"#�>��A�[��ݖ���s~�?�%�i�쫩��_m���Cac��ƫ�p�4%q�gZl�kD� H�d�M��/��R���M�i�Aӌ �]5O���� l������Eޓ�d��d��k��E|g�N���!D����.#a��7˦�u�c�B)�Ý-yv A�U����}�:�f�l�i� These vertical bureaucracies often work to oppose direct, horizontal solidarity between workers since it imposes risks and costs (such as strike benefits) to their organizations, disrupts cozy relationships with employers, and challenges their top-down control. 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. seniority rights) that defended workers against arbitrary management power. 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. The final company offer waas for $10 per hour for the current workforce. The plant normally employs 800 workers. Some 25 years ago the workers at the Austin, Minnesota plant of the Hormel Corp. embarked on a long and brave fight. Despite their sincere effort to be peaceful and avoid violence, local P-9 has been subjected to physical violence from the cops and National Guard and many have been arrested. The Children’s Theatre Company in the Twin Cities announced its 2019-2020 season lineup, and one of the productions may hit close to home in the Austin community. After the rally people filed out, pushing their way past legions of Trotskyists selling newspapers, pamphlets, and discussion bulletins. To develop an effective challenge to the employing class and unionism self-managed by the rank and file, it is going to be necessary to develop new organization. The IWW had led a major strike of mine workers on the Messabi iron ore range in Minnesota in 1916. Protest plans for Hormel’s annual shareholders meeting panicked the executives into moving the meeting to Atlanta. 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 The pro-strike community is a minority in Austin but they were there in force — from infants to old men. This time he conceded that it was going to be difficult to sell wage cuts to the Austin workers given the profitability of the company. On April 14th and 15th the UFCW International held hearings on its proposal to place local P-9 in trusteeship. $80,000 worth of barbed wire was purchased and a marketing agreement signed with FDL Foods in Iowa. What was achieved, through several decades of struggle, were improved conditions and a national wage standard adhered to by all producers. Boston: South End. The assumption is that workers should appeal to “public opinion” rather than to solidarity from other workers. Nonetheless, about half of the 900 workers on the morning shift were persuaded to stay out. He came to Austin and sold Guyette — and then the membership — on a campaign to restore to P-9 what Hormel and the UFCW had taken away. 53 0 obj 2019-12-31T09:44:58-08:00 Working with her on that book, I got a pretty significant understanding of the Wilson & Company strike that occurred there in 1959. What is needed is a new form of organization in which the rank and file directly manage the struggle and the local organizations are linked together in horizontal, worker-to-worker solidarity. P-9 then sent out roving pickets to spread the strike and shut down production at the other plants in the Hormel chain. Rogers argued that if the strikers didn’t practice non-violence, the National Guard would be brought back in. After a year-long corporate campaign and ten months on strike, it wasn’t supposed to end this way. 2 0 obj We are not saying that workers should automatically avoid the AFL-CIO-type unions, even when no other mass organization is feasible. <> Local P-9 had wanted to restore the old $10.69 per hour standard wage. It takes force to stop scabs; it can’t be done by moral appeals to public opinion. All that Hormel does is package meat and it has been doing this very profitably from 1891 to the present. 16 0 obj <> endobj P-9 listened, and believed, and did not strike. The UFCW had justified this as a means of regaining lost ground. The corporate campaign failed because it was based on flawed assumptions. 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. <>21]/P 23 0 R/Pg 58 0 R/S/Link>> 6 0 obj endobj The strike, beginning August 17, 1985 and lasting until September 13 of the following year, is considered one of the longest strikes in Minnesota history and ended in failure for the striking workers. The weakness of P-9’s position has been its inability to close down operations at the Austin plant. The shop stewards in the Ottumwa plant had been particularly instrumental in getting people to refuse to cross the picket lines set up by the workers from Austin. A look back at the Hormel Strike. 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. On Saturday, April 12th, another 3,000-strong rally assembled in Austin, with supporters from all over the country. Shortly afterwards in Bal Harbor, Florida, the AFL-CIO Executive Committee refused to hear an appeal by Rogers and Guyette for an AFL-CIO endorsed boycott of Hormel products. The national standard was necessary to prevent wages from being undercut by competition from low-wage producers. 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). Everywhere in that crowded auditorium you could feel it, that we all need something, something diffferent, something new from the labor movement, and maybe this is where it will start. But Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Governor Perpich hadd removed the National Guard in February only after hundreds of supporters from other unions had been mobilized to support the strikers in Austin. When the pickets arrived at the Hormel operation in Atlanta, they discovered that the UFCW had only a minimal organizing effort going on. The rationale for the trusteeship was local P-9’s refusal of the International’s order to end the strike. Hormel recently announced that its profits were down 25.7% from the second quarter of last year, due to the strike. After announcing in March that it was ending sanction for P-9’s strike the UFCW International sent a letter to P-9 members cutting off strike benefits for strikers who refuse to go back to work on Hormel’s terms. 5 0 obj x��{T[י>���4��ud��u|�dYs��������ةB�8�\�M����סZ�`. Speaker after speaker from National Rank and File Against Concessions pledged undying support for a fight to the end. Workers from all industries were there, carrying signs, union banners and the American flag. The 1985–86 Hormel strike was a labor strike that involved approximately 1,500 workers of the Hormel meatpacking plant in Austin, Minnesota in the United States. The cause in the six-month strike of 1,000 meatpackers against the George A. Hormel Co. in Austin, Minn., may have been just. After the attempt to close the plant on April 11th, Rogers was indicted under the Minnesota Criminal Syndicalism law, the first time that statute has been invoked in decades. endobj They wanted to keep their seniority and grievance protection. This committee then initiated the Naional Rank and File Against Concessions (NRFAC) to give P-9 leaders a national platform. If transport workers and retail clerks refused to handle Hormel products, that would be a more effective form of boycott. Then it sped up the line. uuid:6d952d5a-ad52-11b2-0a00-20aff525fd7f 15 0 obj In their union meetings and rallies, in their travels to other unions around the country, the message of the Austin meat packers is that it’s time to re-orient the labor movement, it’s time for a real fight against employer arrogance. Meanwhile, the Twin Cities dailies describe P-9 as “rigid” and “inflexible.”. [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] Get your 100% original paper on any topic done 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. It eventually became part of the United Packinghouse Workers Union of the CIO. This law, which bans advocacy of sabotage or industrial violence to affect social change, was passed in 1917 for the purpose of outlawing the Industrial Workers of the World. Rogers’ strategy towards the strike has been to push non-violent “civil disobedience,” rather like Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement or the anti-nuclear protesters who sit down in front of nuclear plants with the intention of getting arrested. Enormous quantities of literature were produced — from leaflets to newspapers — and sent throughout Minnesota and beyond. For other uses, see Hormel (disambiguation). The magazine is currently suspended. <>/Metadata 2 0 R/Outlines 5 0 R/Pages 3 0 R/StructTreeRoot 6 0 R/Type/Catalog/ViewerPreferences<>>> The plan was to get individuals, and unions and other institutions, to withdraw their funds and bombard First Bank with demands that the wage cuts at Hormel be rescinded. Instead of backing the fired shop stewards, the UFCW has lately been organizing elections of new shop stewards among the Ottumwa workers who weren’t fire. To do that it was necessary to stop production. Ham-boners, for instance, were required to do 93 an hour. The 1982 master contract for the Hormel plants had contained a clause that permitted re-opening the contract in 1984, before the contract’s expiration in September 1985. 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. endobj One…group crashed through the doors of a conference room where Jay Hormel and five company executives were meeting and declared “We’re taking possession. Prince 12.5 (www.princexml.com) 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. 24 0 obj 72 0 obj “This fight will not end until we get back to work with a good contract,” said Floyd Lennoch, who worked for Hormel in Austin from 1947 until the strike began. Web. When strikers are outside on picketlines, they are an easier target for cop violence and management has a free hand inside the plant. But the track record of consumer boycotts in this country is not very encouraging. 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. One of the upper Midwest’s financial giants, the St. Paul-based bank looked like the ideal location of the “doorsteps of power.” First Bank was descended upon with pickets at branches in three states and protesters at their shareholders meeting. On February 15th 3,000 strike supporters from unions throughout the midwest marched in the streets of Austin and ralled at the high school. 48 0 obj The company changed its name to Hormel Foods Corporation 102 years later in 1993. . At that time local P-9 was being led by a more pro-company case of officials, who decided to break away from the Hormel master contract in exchange for a supposed guarantee that there would be no more cuts at Austin. 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. Initially “Original P-9” was the proposed name of the independent, but the NLRB rejected this name on the grounds that it would be confused with the official P-9, now controlled by the International’s trustee. Rogers left ACTWU in 1981 and, with a partner, launched Corporate Campaign, Inc. as his own business. <>25]/P 34 0 R/Pg 55 0 R/S/Link>> '���lYUiW��z�H1�q�({��?q�$/o���^��Y�aH$��C�-�H�p�U�R�)��o�&-Ϋժ*7o����H$��1O� �k{0���.��֒E�HrgV�m^ސ��k��T���~� �+"�Ј*�#rQ�WE�͚�*CKd�����1����,j���� ��Pn&N��KtF��YU�ɤ�nɳ�����(mH����U�� Yet there have been a number of militant, if isolated, struggles by workers who have put up a strong resistance. The company was founded as George A. Hormel & Company in Austin, Minnesota, U.S., by George A. Hormel in 1891. 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. Kept the heat on Hormel with an effective, resourceful, well-run strike going on guyette and 150 shouted! 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Day in 1985, more than 1,000 workers filed out of Austin preserved!

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