The success of this strike re-invigorates the labor movement, which had been in decline through the 1920s.” They suddenly had to scramble to explain that there was a lot more at stake than 69 cents. In Labor History, vol. A timeline of the Hormel strike. What had been signed by the UFCW was not what had been sold to the local's members. The rule of thumb in meatpacking today is that each company will squeeze or discard the UFCW for the lowest wages and the worst conditions it can get. All that Hormel does is package meat and it has been doing this very profitably from 1891 to the present. But instead of asking retail clerks to refuse to handle Hormel products, the International demanded unconditional surrender by P-9. Frustrated workers in the hog kill department at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minn., went on strike in 1933. For an informative and fun ‘this day in peace/justice/labor history’ type list, sign up for the Peace Button folks’ newsletter. 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. 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. On November 13, 1933, in what historians have suggested was the first officially-recorded sitdown strike in U.S. history, victorious workers at the Hormel meatpacking plant in Austin, Minnesota ended their labor action three days after it began. By 1983 the eroded vesgiges of this reality had collapsed. It was on that understanding that the contract was ratified by Local P-9. As long as the company still recognized the UFCW and kept wages in the $8 per hour range, nobody at the International really cared. When Hormel management imposed a … The nation watched the Hormel strike on the evening news and read about it in newspapers while union leaders across the world watched, … Olson refused to send in the National Guard to break up the strike, as Hormel requested. Yet there have been a number of militant, if isolated, struggles by workers who have put up a strong resistance. 1933 (United States) Hormel, Iowa, Meat-Packing Strike occurred. The two parties reached a compromise within three days. 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. People were not happy. Labor History: Vol. 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. They strike and hire a New York consultant to manage a national media campaign against Hormel. Bill Montross of the UFCW's research department was able to denounce the strike in the pages of In These Times ("Local P-9 Is Leading Mass Suicide", 2/26), the Guardian ("Dissidence Isn't Always Progressive," 2/19), and Labor Notes ("UFCW International Led Fight Against Concessions", April). Only 1,750 workers were employed in the new plant when it opened in 1982 -- less than half as many as worked in the old plant. 4, pp. One of the upper Midwest's financial giants, the St. Paul-based bank looked like the ideal location of the "doorsteps of power." 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. 1933 (United States) New Mexico Miners' Brad Zellar (1,546 words) exact match in snippet view article find links to article owned a repair shop in Hollandale, Minnesota. Meanwhile, if Hormel can successfully recruit and train a scab workforce, the company has no reason to listen to strikers' demands. On National Public Radio Lewie Anderson said that the problem now at Hormel was that the workers made too much money and this would make the company unprofitable and lead to loss of jobs. 483-510. To the employing class, Hormel's callousness and arrogance are just "smart business practices.". December of that year saw a reform slate elected for local office, including a new president, Jim Guyette, who ran on a platform of no wage concessions. The strikers would be holding the $100 million plant hostage. What happened on November 13, 1933. 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. After a year-long corporate campaign and ten months on strike, it wasn't supposed to end this way. After the rally people filed out, pushing their way past legions of Trotskyists selling newspapers, pamphlets, and discussion bulletins. This article and its contents are the product of the publisher, and their opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the IWW. Workers striking at Hormel Packing Plant, Austin, 1933, via Minnesota Historical Society On November 8, members of the Independent Union of All Workers (IUAW), formed that July, presented Hormel with five demands. Guyette and 150 strikers shouted him down and announced that they would take their own vote. The shut down came on August 7th and stretched through the fall and into winter. 15, No. The success of this strike re-invigorates the labor movement, which had been in decline through the 1920s.” 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. Management was talking about getting a 20% increase in productivity out of the new facility. It didn't work. Website - tech [at] iww.org, This site is a static archive. The UFCW had justified this as a means of regaining lost ground. Hormel replied to them in an open letter on November 10, 1933, basically claiming the company couldn’t afford to concede them. On February 16th about 200 pickets from P-9 showed up at the FDL Foods plant in Dubuque. Ray Rogers talks fast, in his thick Boston accent, and is prone to a cheerleading style, as in "Give me a 'W', give me an 'I', give me an 'N'; What's that spell? Post was not sent - check your email addresses! In January 1986 Hormel reopened the plant with strikebreakers, leading P-9 to widen its efforts to secure support from other workers. group crashed through the doors of a conference room where Jay Hormel and five company executives were meeting and declared “We’re taking possession. So move out!” (Larry Engelmann, “We Were the Poor — The Hormel Strike of 1933,” Labor History, Fall, 1974.) This is done by trying to show how the targeted employer is especially unfair to its workforce. 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. As one commentator has described it: The new plant experienced a 120% increase in worker injuries. 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. Another mass rally in support of the Ottumwa workers took place on May 10th, including hundreds of P-9 members bused in from Austin. 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. See also Philip S. Foner, History of the Labor Move ment in the United States: The Industrial Workers of the World, 1905–1917 (New York: International Publishers, 1965), pp. Email the author. 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 1933 the meatpackers at the Hormel plant launched the plant's first labor strike" here or after it would be good to know the demands and if they were successful Added a new reference and added some demands, with the success of the strike discussed further down in the paragraph. This article focuses on the circumstances and activism of commercial farmers and people working for wages. Protest plans for Hormel's annual shareholders meeting panicked the executives into moving the meeting to Atlanta. Union workers physically remove Jay Hormel from the company’s general offices and shut down the refrigeration system, causing the meat to spoil. On Saturday, April 12th, another 3,000-strong rally assembled in Austin, with supporters from all over the country. The workers of Hormel's Austin operations were first pressured to give concessions in the 1978 contract, which included a rigorous "no-strike" clause. Browse historical events, famous birthdays and notable deaths from Nov 13, 1933 or search by date, day or keyword. The 400 former P-9 members who returned to work after Hormel restarted production in January were particularly damaging to the strike since they had skills and experience needed to bring production back to normal levels. But the company claims it can run the plant with only 1,050 people. The IUAW went on to become a major center for organizing meatpacking plants in the upper midwest in the '30s. Learn how your comment data is processed. With Jesse Jackson, Juan Munoz, Ray Rogers. Representative from P-9, in Austin, MN, give a history of the Hormel strike. Magazine Premium created by c.bavota. Rogers told them again and again that they had the power and he would help them use it. Peter Rachleff is a Professor of History at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. As of June [1986], P-9ers were claiming that only about 700-to-800 people were working in the Austin plant; the company, on the other hand, claims it now has 1,050 people working. Support in the community is fairly strong. Directed by Barbara Kopple, Cathy Caplan, Thomas Haneke. The $20 million in concessions helped to finance Hormel's new $100 million plant in Austin. 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. 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. Even before the trusteeship was imposed, Joe Hansen made an unconditional offer to Hormel for the strikers to return to work. A sit-down strike would have been the most effective way to shut down production and force Hormel to take the strikers' concerns seriously. On the other hand, when workers are in possession of the plant, the scabs can't be brough in to carry on production. The strike attracted widespread support among rank-and-file workers in the U.S. labor movement despite the reluctance of the UFCW to endorse its objectives. 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." 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 "Corporate Campaign" that tried to bring consumer pressure against Hormel's main bank, a consumer boycott of Hormel meat products, and by roving pickets sent to other Hormel plants. 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. A sit-down strike was how local P-9 was organized originally back in 1933. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. 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