Hormel plant workers vote down contract

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hormel Foods Corp. and its Austin plant employees are still without a contract after plant workers voted down another proposed contract Tuesday, according to sources.

Both sides remain tight-lipped regarding specific terms of the negotiations. However, some sticking points to the contacts include proposed scheduling changes, higher insurance deductibles and a near-site health clinic, along with other healthcare changes, according to reports and a copy of the contract obtained by the Herald.

“The union and company bargaining teams worked to get a tentative agreement on a very competitive and, what we believe to be, an industry leading contract,” Hormel stated in a written statement Wednesday morning. “We obviously were disappointed that this tentative agreement was not ratified yesterday. We remain optimistic and feel confident in the contract the teams have agreed to.”

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The workers reportedly have 72 hours to renegotiate and then make a decision of how to proceed. To approve the deal, the workers would need a simple majority of more than 50 percent.

On Wednesday morning, James Snee was elected president of the board of directors and promoted to chief operating officer. He was asked about the labor negotiations during a press conference. While he said he wasn’t prepared to offer specific comments on the negotiations, he said the company is working to come a deal that would benefit both sides.

“We have a deep caring and concern for all our employees, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this issue, like any other issue, will get resolved and it will be a mutually positive outcome for both sides,” he said.

Representatives with the United Food & Commercial Workers Union could not be reached for comment.