P-9′er calls for retirement benefits; U.S. Humane Society praises HormelPublished 10:45am Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Not everyone at Hormel’s annual shareholders meeting was there to sing the company’s praise or pat themselves on the back. But while a representative from the striking P9 union had complaints, another group that usually follows suit, the Humane Society of the United States, thanked the company for phasing out its gestation crates for hogs.
A representative from the group said they were pleased Hormel was phasing out its crates — which the Humane Society says severely restrict animals’ movement — by the end of 2017. Hormel announced the change at last year’s shareholders meeting.
The P9 representative, Rod Huinker, thanked Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger for meeting with him after last year’s shareholders meeting, but still made a plea for retirement benefits for roughly 50 workers fired after the strike 25 years ago, and for better wages for workers at Quality Pork Processors and the company’s other slaughterhouses. Huinker has attended 23-straight shareholders meetings, asking at first for the striking employees’ jobs back, but after 2006, starting asking for retirement benefits.
Ettinger, who recognized Huinker and called on him by name before the striker spoke, thanked him for his comments, but said making an exception for his group could set a precedence for others with complaints over the last 25 years to come forward.