AUSTIN, Minn. — The international union of the striking meatpackers' local at Geo. A. Hormel & Co. is removing elected leaders of the local who refused to end an 8-month-old strike, officers of the international said Thursday.
Leaders of Local P-9 vowed to resist the takeover, and members wielding baseball bats stood guard outside the union hall.
"We met on the 7th and voted to put them in trusteeship," said Al Zack, spokesman for the Washington-based United Food and Commercial Workers.
Joe Hansen, the international union's regional director, will act as trustee and supervise the local's daily activities, Zack said.
The international union filed suit in federal court in St. Paul seeking a court order barring strikers from harassing or threatening Hansen or removing records from the union hall.
Local union leaders refused to accept the order.
"We think the international union's efforts today show bad faith," said Local P-9 President Jim Guyette. "We've not received any paper work and we're not under trusteeship as far as we know.
"We intend to keep doing the jobs we're elected to do. We're fighting for our jobs. We intend to keep pushing the company."
There have been numerous demonstrations in the eight months since 1,500 people struck Hormel's flagship plant over wages and working conditions.
On March 14, the international union ordered the local to end the strike. But the local, which twice rejected a federal mediator's proposed settlement, refused and continued its call for a nationwide boycott of Hormel products.