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. <>21]/P 23 0 R/Pg 58 0 R/S/Link>> 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. “What you have to do is to take your power to the doorsteps of power.” Ray Rogers talks fast, in his thick Boston accent, and is prone to a cheer-leading style, as in “Give me a ‘W’, give me an ‘I’, give me an ‘N’; What’s that spell? 1 Instead of work stands that could be adjusted to the worker’s height, as in the old plant, the new plant had fixed work stations. $80,000 worth of barbed wire was purchased and a marketing agreement signed with FDL Foods in Iowa. First Bank blandly denied that it had anything to do with management decisions at Hormel. <>/Metadata 2 0 R/Outlines 5 0 R/Pages 3 0 R/StructTreeRoot 6 0 R/Type/Catalog/ViewerPreferences<>>> The new plant experienced a 120% increase in worker injuries. 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. endobj “Strikes are obsolete,” he told them. 6 0 obj 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. 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. For Rogers P-9 provided the opportunity of another J.P. Stevens and Corporate Campaign threw themselves into this like there was no tomorrow. A Hormel & Co. threatens to move meatpacking operations out of Austin. Ham-boners, for instance, were required to do 93 an hour. The weakness of P-9’s position has been its inability to close down operations at the Austin plant. application/pdf endobj 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. For other uses, see Hormel (disambiguation). endobj Slaughterhouse Fight: A Look at the Hormel Strike By Steve Boyce, Jake Edwards and Tom Wetzel - published in Ideas & Action #7 , Summer, 1986 When the airline unions and the AFL-CIO let the air controllers go down to defeat, the message to the employing class was, "You can do what you want; we won't organize a fighting solidarity." 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. Another twist in Rogers’ emphasis upon “public opinion” is the consumer boycott of Hormel products. ideas & action was created in July, 1981 as an independent anarcho-syndicalist magazine. Some believed that Hormel could not bring in a large number of scabs into such a small community (population 22,000). 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. A fight which was not only right, which was fought "from below". Hormel sells food under â¦ 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. Some 18 years ago this article Slaughterhouse Fight: A Look at the Hormel Strike closed with this thesis: "A workers movement guided by the principles of rank-and-file democracy, worker solidarity, and militant struggle against the employing class is bound to develop new forms of organization, independent of the rotting corpse of American business unionism. They wanted to keep their seniority and grievance protection. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Labor and Social Change Ser. Affiliation of workers in different workplaces with the same AFL-CIO-type “international union” only guarantees subordination to a common central bureaucracy. The strikers would be holding the $100 million plant hostage. Archive of ideas & action Articles. His travels took him to Austin and he decided to settle there, borrow $500, and open a meat business. And obviously Rogers’ strategy did not avoid arrests or police violence. Reaves, Brian A. <> uuid:6d952d59-ad52-11b2-0a00-9012ea000000 But in the fall of ’83, Hormel decided to take advantage of the concessions fever then sweeping the industry and announced that it was lowering wages in pursuit of the UFCW’s “national standard” which had already become a pathetic joke. Hormel waited until after the trusteeship was upheld in court on June 2nd to agree to being negotiations. Rogers argued that if the strikers didn’t practice non-violence, the National Guard would be brought back in. Hard-Pressed in the Heartland: The Hormel Strike and the Future of the Labor Movement. Research into Hormel’s stock ties and board of directors had turned up First Bank. (“The Safety Issue in the Hormel Strike,” Pete Rachleff, Labor Notes #88.). What’s that spell?” Rogers told them again and again that they had the power and he would help them use it. The rationale for the trusteeship was local P-9’s refusal of the International’s order to end the strike. They wanted some safety provisions in a plant which has become a slaughterhouse for human beings as well as livestock. The summary of the contract provided by the International said that the agreement continued the policy of wages being adjusted to the national standard and prohibited wage reductions. In the late 1990s, Trowe and several other SWP members worked at the Hormel slaughterhouse in Austin, 100 miles south of here. x��X]o�6}����T���o�(��I�ep���Їb�-�Zdɓ�ٯߡ(ۢc%m���";"/��9�^z|V7�"�5�ի��~���$����������(�&�1qe݃Mꛑ�4��BS��A���k��:-�b�?�\����h�>��֙���������1#(�&�DM��9���#��v�E�U]fEA~+����J(������(�7ysO. At that point the strikers’ numbers and enthusiasm were at a peak, and the “forces of order” could have been taken by surprise. The Metro Support Committee organized caravans bringing tons of food to Austin, as did Region 13 of the UFCW. 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. 16 0 obj The Childrenâs 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. endobj In other words, the union apparatus must be preserved, even against the workers themselves. Meanwhile, the Twin Cities dailies describe P-9 as “rigid” and “inflexible.”. At that time they had gotten a better deal than everybody else. <>2]/P 14 0 R/Pg 58 0 R/S/Link>> 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. 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. Boston: South End. 24 0 obj The International failed to provide documents and witnesses by local P-9, which denounced the proceedings as a “sham” and a “farce.”. When the pickets arrived at the Hormel operation in Atlanta, they discovered that the UFCW had only a minimal organizing effort going on. Speaker after speaker from National Rank and File Against Concessions pledged undying support for a fight to the end. The cause in the six-month strike of 1,000 meatpackers against the George A. Hormel Co. in Austin, Minn., may have been just. Workers from all industries were there, carrying signs, union banners and the American flag. Twenty-five years ago today, workers at the Hormel meatpacking plant in Austin, Minn. went on strike, bringing the struggles of the national labor movement home to southern Minnesota. <>4]/P 6 0 R/Pg 58 0 R/S/Link>> They made a deal with William Wynn, who pledged to approve the roving pickets if negotiations with Hormel failed. It eventually became part of the United Packinghouse Workers Union of the CIO. The IUAW went on to become a major center for organizing meatpacking plants in the upper midwest in the ’30s. The magazine is currently suspended. 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 business and his partner, Albert Friedrich, handled slaughterhouse fight: a look at the hormel strike retail side and seeing the scabs their... Had inadequate safety features — like automatic back saws with no safety.. 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