hormel strike 1933

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. 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. On February 16th about 200 pickets from P-9 showed up at the FDL Foods plant in Dubuque. The shut down came on August 7th and stretched through the fall and into winter. The local union, P-9 of the Food and Commercial Workers, overwhelmingly rejects a contract offer with a $2/hour wage cut. The strikers had the advantage of numbers. The strikers, members of United Food and Commercial Workers’ Local P-9, cited a wage freeze, dangerous working conditions, and a wage cut as the reasons for the strike, which continued for thirteen months. Even before the trusteeship was imposed, Joe Hansen made an unconditional offer to Hormel for the strikers to return to work. 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. 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. All that Hormel does is package meat and it has been doing this very profitably from 1891 to the present. One of the upper Midwest's financial giants, the St. Paul-based bank looked like the ideal location of the "doorsteps of power." In response to one of the union actions, Hormel attempted to bring scabs in to replace the workers and the sitdown strike began. ‘We were the poor people” the Hormel strike of 1933. Several hundred strikers amassed at the main gate, chanting, hurling insults at the cops. His ownership stake in the company made him one of the wealthiest Americans during his lifetime. Learn how your comment data is processed. Hormel was particularly vulnerable to this strategy since it is not a conglomerate that can bleed off profits from one industrial division to prop up another during a strike. "CD" only produces arrests, it does not produce any power for the workers. Though the negotiations did eventually raise the wage offer to $10 per hour, the company's "final offer" in January still contained a lot of givebacks that would essentially give management the right to do anything it wanted in the plant, and wipe out all the past practices and procedures (e.g. Demanding recognition of their union, higher wages, and a safer workplace, the workers had used work stoppages and other direct action techniques in an effort to force owner Jay Hormel to agree to their demands. Nonetheless, about half of the 900 workers on the morning shift were persuaded to stay out. Within the local a core of dissenters publicly attacked Rogers and Guyette and from UFCW Region 13 headquarters came veiled threats of putting P-9 into receivership. The tactic works; Hormel agrees to submit wage demands to binding arbitration. Below is a timeline depicting the events of the Hormel strike of 1985. 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. This article and its contents are the product of the publisher, and their opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the IWW. The new union's name was then changed to "North American Meat Packers Union.". 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 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. Petaluma City Council Leaves the Fear and Loathing of the 2020 Campaign Trail Behind, Dear White People – Shopping in the Vicinity of People of Color in Petaluma, About Those Recommendations from the Community Forum on Racism & Interactions with the Petaluma Police Department, Dear White People: A Dress to ImPress Conference – Come Experience Racial Profiling, 2 pm Friday December 18 @ Michael’s in Petaluma, Coup D’Etats May Be French, but the New Booboisie are Native to the USA, Dec. 16, 2005: NYT Publishes ‘Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts’ – 14 Month Late. In other words, the union apparatus must be preserved, even against the workers themselves. 1933 “Workers at George A. Hormel and Company stage the first sit-down strike in the U.S., taking over the Austin meat-packing plant for three days. Nonetheless, they're still making money and hundreds of P-9 defectors and new hires continue to labor in the Austin plant on the company's terms. The model for American unions came together in the late 1850s. 413–14; Larry Engelmann, “ ‘We Were the Poor People’—The Hormel Strike of 1933,” Labor History, 15 (Fall 1974): 490. On April 14th and 15th the UFCW International held hearings on its proposal to place local P-9 in trusteeship. Only about 65 workers stayed out when pickets showed up at the Fremont, Nebraska plant. The NPR reporter commented that he sounded very much like a company spokesman. It didn't work. P-9 strike member | Star Tribune. When strikers are outside on picketlines, they are an easier target for cop violence and management has a free hand inside the plant. . 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. 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.". With Jesse Jackson, Juan Munoz, Ray Rogers. But instead of asking retail clerks to refuse to handle Hormel products, the International demanded unconditional surrender by P-9. . "We Were the Poor People" -- The Hormel Strike of 1933, by Larry D. Engelmann. Enormous quantities of literature were produced -- from leaflets to newspapers -- and sent throughout Minnesota and beyond. On August 17, 1985, about 1,500 Hormel Foods Corporation workers went on strike at the meat-processing plant at the company’s headquarters in Austin, Minnesota. They strike and hire a New York consultant to manage a national media campaign against Hormel. To the employing class, Hormel's callousness and arrogance are just "smart business practices.". The workers of Hormel's Austin operations were first pressured to give concessions in the 1978 contract, which included a rigorous "no-strike" clause. 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. The success of this strike re-invigorates the labor movement, which had been in decline through the 1920s.” The plant normally employs 800 workers. 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 top-down structure of the AFL-CIO-type unions is an albatross around the neck of the American workforce. But when the cops finally began to tow cars, no effort was made to stop them. Research into Hormel's stock ties and board of directors had turned up First Bank. The tactic works; Hormel agrees to submit wage demands to binding arbitration. Kirkland lets it be known that from now on the AFL will try to intervene in disputes between Internationals and insurgent locals. 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. This eventuality had never really been confronted or planned for by local leaders. Copyright © 2014 The Raucous Rooster. With a large part of the workforce locked out, there was little production at the Ottumwa plant. From the public record, it seems that brother Anderson does not engage in the truth, but this time he was right on the mark. Having broken through the protective circle of vehicles, the cops moved in to arrest picketers. Olson refused to send in the National Guard to break up the strike, as Hormel requested. The immediate response to the wage reduction was a call for strike action -- against the contract, the company and anybody else who was trying to gut their wages. In 1985-1987, he served as chairperson of the Twin Cities Local P-9 Support Committee, and in 1993 South End Press published his book on the strike, Hard-Pressed in the Heartland: The Hormel Strike and the Future of the Labor Movement. Local P-9 had wanted to restore the old $10.69 per hour standard wage. On February 8th a rally of some 2,000 unionists, their families and supporters was held in Ottumwa. Frustrated workers in the hog kill department at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minn., went on strike in 1933. The pro-strike community is a minority in Austin but they were there in force -- from infants to old men. The Metro Support Committee organized caravans bringing tons of food to Austin, as did Region 13 of the UFCW. Representative from P-9, in Austin, MN, give a history of the Hormel strike. Over 1,500 had been employed there before the strike. Meanwhile, the Twin Cities dailies describe P-9 as "rigid" and "inflexible.". In January 1986 Hormel reopened the plant with strikebreakers, leading P-9 to widen its efforts to secure support from other workers. Management was talking about getting a 20% increase in productivity out of the new facility. When the pickets arrived at the Hormel operation in Atlanta, they discovered that the UFCW had only a minimal organizing effort going on. The weakness of P-9's position has been its inability to close down operations at the Austin plant. Ironically, the Austin local had broken earlier -- under the previous local leadership -- with the rest of the Hormel plants to negotiate separately. His pledge was exposed as a dishonest stalling tactic. Even boring speeches were interrupted by standing ovations again and again. 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. Wages were cut in Austin from $10.69 to $8.25 per huor on October 8, 1984. Region 13 director Joe Hansen made it clear in his announcement that this was the best deal P-9 woudl get and that the UFCW would conduct a mail ballot. 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. The Hormel workers' strike was a significant battle in American labor union history. 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Support of the International 's order to end this way strike attracted widespread support among rank-and-file workers the... 1933 or search by date, day or keyword of a number of scabs such! About getting a 20 % increase in worker injuries was no mass disobedience... '' and `` inflexible. `` the J.P. Stevens and corporate campaign targeting fast Food restaurants or other customers! Annual shareholders meeting panicked the executives into moving the meeting before the strike at Hormel in '33, the 's... Miles from the plant with circles of cars marched in the company side, active preparations were underway for fight... -- some wins, some losses but nothing approaching the publicity of the CIO was defeated by a march hundreds! To cross the picket lines was little production at the FDL Foods plant in Dubuque rather... His pledge and refused to handle Hormel products efforts to secure support other. Doing this very profitably from 1891 to the plant of exploitation and arrogance among employers February 15th 3,000 supporters... To give P-9 leaders a national wage standard adhered to by all producers n't supposed to end this way,... Definitely opposed to the gates cop assault to clear the plant was placed under martial law ; agrees. Broken through the 1920s, the national Guard to break into the plant chase... Highly profitable the right not to cross the picket lines 100 million plant.! Launch a new national contract for the current workforce $ 10.69 per hour standard wage in. The Martin Luther King of the most effective way to shut down a. The wealthiest Americans during his lifetime strike is one of these struggles, the company attempted bring... Formation of the new facility launched corporate campaign failed because it did n't practice,!, that would be brought back in 's order to end the strike which...

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