Packing It In! No sooner had the Hog Kill completed its shift in the afternoon than a group of about twenty five men met in another nearby park to discuss the agenda for the evening meeting in Sutton Park. He grew up experiencing all of the expectations, pressures and pleasures of being the heir apparent of a successful, powerful and prosperous family enterprise. The increases were in line with increases that went into effect throughout the meatpacking industry that autumn. Workers agree to a five-year wage freeze and a 20% increase in work standards. Hormel said he never “flew off the handle at an honest mistake in judgment. ▶ Bookmark articles to your own reading list Ellis disliked Shoemaker intensely and considered him both “a grandstander” and “an outright liar.” On this critical evening, Shoemaker succeeded in living up to the letter of Ellis’s evaluation. Disgruntled workers in the plant that year attempted to go beyond personal conferences with the owner and to establish a collective bargaining agreement with him. A single company watchman was allowed to remain inside the building but otherwise there was no one in the facility. An important labor struggle, one of the most publicized in the nation, grinds on as another season begins in this stark prairie city, the cold grudgingly letting go, trees showing tips of green, ducks bobbing on the Cedar River. For photographers, he paused to shake hands with Hormel at the door and remarked, “Jay, I think you have a lot of poise.” On Friday July 14th, the day after the Sutton Park meeting, Ellis, Harold Harlan, Soren Cardell and Helen McDermott met with a local attorney to prepare a charter for the new union. These men were replaced with younger and more competent executives while a significant portion of the company’s control was delegated to Jay C. Hormel. Some of you know it was worth the whole thing to say to Jay Hormel, ‘Get the hell out of here.’ It doesn’t do anyone any harm to get down to earth once in a while to let them know they are not up in the clouds with the Blue Eagle [symbol of the New Deal’s NRA program]. There he met and courted Germaine Dubois of La Vernelle, an auburn-haired daughter of a miller. The Hormel strike that began 25 years ago, devastated Austin and transformed the workforce of the small city. After graduating from the military academy, Jay attended Princeton University for three years and “had a very good time” as a student. Olson agreed to send Frank T. Starkey of the State Industrial Commission to Austin to confer with representatives of both the union and the company. Frustrated workers in the hog kill department at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minn., went on strike in 1933. But workers complained regularly of the prospect of going for weeks with small paychecks or none at all and Austin’s merchants worried over the necessity of arranging credit for seasonally unemployed Hormel workers. The Hormel strike symbolized the fight back against this new corporate agenda, not just because of the injustice of the corporate demands but also because of the heroism of the strikers. Yet that support is significant. Olson said he had been especially impressed by the willingness of both sides to submit their problems to arbitration by the State Industrial Commission. THE HORMEL strikers blew it. In October 1984, James Guyette, Local P-9's president, asked Ray Rogers, a New York labor consultant who had gained notice with his campaign at J. P. Stevens & Company in the early 1980's, to come in. The demands included: 1. As a result, most of the support for the Austin strikers, members of Local P-9, has come not from the top echelons of the labor movement, but from several hundred local unions, many of them longtime mavericks, and from symphathetic activists. Although the Hormel Company was among the last of the meatpackers to adopt across-the-board wage reductions, it finally fell into line in 1931. After a brief and heated discussion, the union leadership called for an immediate strike. Early Saturday afternoon Hormel decided to make an unusual emergency call to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But dissatisfaction with the semi-voluntary system increased as more and more Hormel works, many with only the semblance of a job in the plant, joined the ranks of the working-needy because of drastically reduced hours and paychecks. He then explained how the act of destroying money symbolized what workers did when they dropped meat on the floor. The newspaper complied. Olson told him that this was not true and revealed that he had mobilized troops of the state militia and stationed them in nearby Owatonna. In July 1937, several department in the plant used sit-down strikes to demand a closed-shop agreement with the company. Ellis began pulling workers aside in the plant and questioned them about their grievances and about their attitudes toward organization. In fact, he said, Jay Hormel was guilty of backing out of the agreement with the union. Ellis quickly left the office after giving his statement to Syck, aware now of the efforts being made to bring about intervention by the state militia and at the same time to prevent the Governor from coming to Austin personally to assess the situation. If Olson was reelected, Hormel warned, he would be forced to lay off all of his workers and shut down the Austin plant. Click here for the guide. St. Paul, Minn.: Kirwin & Sons Pub., 1988. Hormel told his employees he wanted to see Herbert Hoover reelected president but far more important for the company in Austin was the election of Republican Earle Brown as governor of Minnesota. Meat packing – the slaughter and processing of cattle, hogs and sheep – was the industry of Austin. Baudler’s back was turned to Ellis and so he continued discussing the situation in Austin with the Governor, asking that state troops be sent to Austin immediately to break the strike and to return the Hormel plant to its rightful owner. As Syck and his men struggled to push the doors open, several workers picked up the vehicle, passengers and all and turned it around so it faced the direction from which it had just come. The agreement recognized the IUAW and its right to bargain collectively with the Company through representatives of its own choosing “in all matters pertaining to the interests and welfare of the members of the union” and recognized and agreed to “the provisions of the law regarding the right of labor to organize and the provisions of the new federal National Recovery Act. He became a member and organizer of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an organization that recruited both skilled and unskilled laborers, and he was instrumental in establishing a “Wobbly” branch in Omaha, Nebraska. At midnight on Friday, as five hundred workers milled around the main entrance to the plant, a table was carried to the front gate to be used by Jay Hormel as a speaking platform. Only in this way, he said, could negotiations with Hormel move forward. Ellis had not been at work during the day and had not yet heard of the spontaneous actions of the workers and the call for the Sutton Park gathering. Previously, all Hormel workers were paid by the hour and were laid off when business was slack. Some of the younger and less experienced workers in the office and outside, however, seemed somewhat less confident and expressed concern about arrests, strike breakers and more violence. The organization was to follow the IWW pattern of grouping all laborers together into one big union without regard to craft or individual occupation. Strike leaders also say they have raised $1 million from local unions and other organizations. Always unsure of Olson’s real sympathies, Hormel warned the governor not to come to Austin personally. At a special meeting on Friday, September 22, union members discussed striking in order to gain a solid collective bargaining agreement with the company that would include seniority rights. 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