Hormel union OKs contract

Published 10:59 am Friday, September 16, 2011

United Food and Commercial Workers Union members at Hormel Foods Corp. voted to accept new four-year contracts for about 4,000 workers in Austin; Algona, Iowa; Fremont, Neb.; Beloit, Wis., and Atlanta, Ga.

The new collective bargaining deal will mean a base wage increase of $1.50, improvements in health care, improved retirement security and a pension increase.

“The strong contract that we secured with Hormel is a pretty big deal,” said Dick Schuster, a Hormel employee in Fremont, Neb. for 38 years, in a news release. “At a time when pensions are under attack nationwide, we were able to bargain for significant improvements to our retirement security. Our contract is a testament to why sticking together and speaking with one voice benefits all workers.”

Health care improvements include 100 percent coverage for transplants and an increased allowance for hearing aids. The 401(k) match will increase from $300 to $500.

“Hormel Foods is pleased to have reached an agreement with our employees on a new 4-year contract,” said David P. Juhlke, vice president of human resources at Hormel Foods. “We look forward to continuing to work together to manufacture a portfolio of trusted branded food and meat products consumers enjoy around the world.”

“Our communities need good jobs with pay and benefits that can support a family,” said Vincent Perry, a four-year veteran at the Hormel plant in Algona, Iowa, in a news release. “Good union contracts like ours help build more stable and secure communities.”

UFCW represents 8,000 Hormel workers nationwide.

The UFCW represents 1.3 million workers, 250,000 in the meatpacking and poultry industries.