Striking workers have rejected a proposed contract with Geo. A. Hormel & Co., and union officers said Friday that the 4 1/2-month-old walkout against the meatpacker will continue. The company vowed to reopen the plant.
Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local P-9 voted 775 to 540 in a mail-in ballot to reject the settlement.
It was the second time that union workers at the Austin, Minn., plant had voted to reject a federal mediator’s proposed contract settlement, which Hormel had said must be ratified by Friday.
Immediately after the vote was announced, the plant manager said the plant would be reopened.
“We will be contacting our employees in the very near future to provide information on our recall procedure,” said Deryl Arnold, adding that the reopening date probably would be decided over the weekend.
Leaders of the local said last week that members rejected the proposal by a 3-2 ratio in a walk-in vote. But that vote was not sanctioned by the international union, which conducted the mail-in referendum.
About 1,500 workers walked out Aug. 17 in a dispute over wages and working conditions. It was the first strike in more than 50 years against Hormel in Austin, where the food company was founded in 1891.