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Still P-9 proud

25th anniversary of historic Hormel strike commemorated in Austin, Minnesota

By Mick Kelly |
August 22, 2010
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President Jim Guyette speaking on the 25th anniversary of Hormel Strike.
President Jim Guyette speaking at event commemorating 25th anniversary of Hormel strike. (Fight Back! News/Mick Kelly)
P-9 striker talking about experiences during strike.
Ray Rogers speaking at P-9 strike commemoration.
P-9 striker talking about experiences during strike. (Fight Back! News/Mick Kelly)
Ray Rogers speaking at P-9 strike commemoration. (Fight Back! News/Mick Kelly)

Austin, MN - About 200 veterans of the famous Hormel strike - members of Local P-9, along with their families and supporters - gathered here at the American Legion Hall to commemorate strike’s 25th anniversary. Among those in attendance were P-9 President Jim Guyette, Vice-president Lynn Huston, Pete Winkles and Ray Rogers. The event was sponsored by the United Support Group.

Participants in the strike spoke about the necessity of it and of their pride in participating in this historic battle of labor. Many, who paid dearly for their efforts, said if given the opportunity, they would do it again.

The P-9 strike began in August 1985 in response to a 23% wage cut demanded by Hormel. The 1700 strikers faced intense opposition from government - the National Guard was called in and the leaders of P-9 were charged with ‘criminal syndicalism.’ They also had to go up against officials in their own union, who did everything in their power to undermine the strike, eventually putting the local in receivership and seizing the union’s hall and assets.

Raising the banner of “No retreat, no surrender,” the P-9 strike marshaled support of workers across the country and helped to galvanize a movement against concessions in the labor movement.