Union workers at Hormel Foods plant in Austin reject contract offer

Union employees at the Hormel Foods plant in Austin, Minn., are now working under a short-term contract extension, after voting last week to reject a long-term labor contract offer from the company.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 663 represents about 1,700 meatpacking workers at the plant, where the previous contract ended earlier this month.

The union’s bargaining committee had recommended rejecting what it called a “final offer” from the company — and UFCW Local 663 said its members voted “overwhelmingly” against the company’s offer.

“It’s simply not good enough. We stand united and are willing to fight for more for our families and our community,” bargaining committee members said in a news release. “Hormel’s record profits are just wages not shared fairly with the rest of us. The reality is that we keep Hormel running. We demand that Hormel does better and comes to the table for a fair agreement quickly.”

In a statement, Hormel said it’s “disappointed in the vote, especially given the significant contract package offered, however we remain optimistic that we will reach agreement. The parties have agreed to a contract extension until Oct. 8 as we continue negotiations.”

The Hormel plant in Austin was the site of a lengthy strike in 1985-86 that drew national attention.

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