UFCW Local 663 and Hormel Foods reach tentative agreement

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(ABC 6 News) – Over the past month, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union has been negotiating with Hormel Foods, asking for better pay and benefits.

Last month on Labor Day, Hormel employees marched for fair pay.

With their contract soon expiring, they wanted their voices heard.

“Every day the workers work so hard. These are essential workers, and here in Austin they keep this plant running and they keep this community running,” President of the UFCW Local 663 Rena Wong said.

A little over a week after the march, workers voted on what Hormel dubbed its final offer.

Ultimately, union members rejected the deal saying it’s “simply not good enough.”

According to the UFCW Local 663, Hormel’s’ profits reached over $2 billion this past year.

The meatpacking plant in Austin employs over 1,700 UFCW union members and those members said they’ve earned the right to be heard.

“They could do better on their pension, seems like they always say there’s a lot of money in the pension, and kick up the wages a little bit for the next four years,” Hormel employee Mike Whalen said.

Many weeks of negotiations continued, and the workers’ contract was extended until this Sunday.

Both sides reached a tentative agreement before the deadline.

Mark Petrik worked in the corporate office at Hormel for 19 years. He’s been following along with the strike and as a former employee, he’s happy to see the workers fight for what they deserve.

“I glad to hear that they actually were able to resolve it, it’s always a great situation when something like this can actually be resolved versus actually walking off your job and creating an economic situation.”

The details of the tentative agreement will be shared with union members in private meetings over the weekend.

They’ll vote on the contract on October 9th, after which the results will be tallied and shared with members and the public.