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Hormel Austin Plant Workers Reject Contract Offer; Strike Temporarily Averted

Sept. 20, 2023
Both sides of the contract negotiations agreed to a short-term contract extension to October 8, allowing talks to continue and avoiding a strike.

Workers at Hormel Foods’ Austin, Minn., plant voted to reject what was called a “final” contract offer from the processor late last week, a move that wasn’t unexpected by most following the storyline.

However, the two sides avoided a strike — at least temporarily — as they agreed to a short-term extension of the current contract to October 8, local news reports said. UFCW Local 663 conducted the vote of more than 1,600 meatpacking workers from the company’s legacy facility, stating that workers “overwhelmingly” voted against the proposal.

The workers believe Hormel’s proposal simply isn’t “good enough” in light of “record profits” the company has seen recently. Hormel, for its part, stressed optimism that new negotiations would produce an agreement on both sides.

The union had urged its membership to vote against the contract offer, saying that the workforce still had not been properly rewarded for the “huge sacrifices” made during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep the company running.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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