UFCW Local 9 Rejects Hormel Contract Offer

Created: September 27, 2019 06:59 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Union workers at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minn. are at a crossroads.

The UFCW Local 9 union has turned down a contract offered by Hormel Foods Corporation. The union states 99% of its members turned it down with strike authorization. 

"I've never seen a strike vote of 99%," said union president Richard Morgan. "The people deserve to be heard, they were heard, we're going to take that message to the company next week."

Morgan said workers want better healthcare, pension, wages, and more time off. Further negotiations take place late next week. 

"If it doesn't pass, it will probably be the biggest impasse since 1985," Morgan said.

Union workers went on a months-long strike after they faced wage and benefit freezes, and cited dangerous working conditions in 1985. The events rattled the city of Austin and the nation. It even inspired a movie.

"Right now a strike is the last thing on our mind, but it may take withholding our labor to maybe possibly get the company's attention that the people are sick and tired of being sick and tired," Morgan said.

But Morgan said he's hopeful an agreement can be reached.

"I don't think that we're way out of line to get to where we need," Morgan said. "I'm not trying to fight this thing in the news media. I don't want to do that. It needs to be done at the bargaining table and I look forward to getting back to the bargaining table."

ABC 6 News has reached out to Hormel for comment. The union's current contract with Hormel expires Oct. 8, Morgan said. 
Morgan said the contract also encompasses workers in Georgia, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

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