Connecting the dots between union strikes, Hormel food and Soul Asylum
Winter is coming. It's not just a catch phrase from Game of Thrones; colder weather and winter is really coming and for the brave citizens of northern states like Minnesota, we salute you and its workers with native band Soul Asylum and their lost song P-9.
In 1985, union workers from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local P-9 at the Hormel Foods Plant in Austin, MN (about two hours south of Minneapolis and near the Iowa border) went on strike protesting wage and benefit cuts. The strike was not supported by their parent union (UFCW) and the holdout became one of the longest work protests of the '80s. When the strike ended 10 months later, nearly 700 workers still refused to come back to work under the new conditions. The strife inspired Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner to write P-9 about the dilemma on how hard a stand one should take when you have children to feed at home.
While the song is a serious matter, the video for P-9 finds Soul Asylum visiting future Hormel products on a cold, snowy Minnesota farm with a cute clip of Pirner holding a baby (awww). The song appears on Soul Asylum's 1989 EP Clam Dip and other Delights.
The Hormel Foods strike also was the subject matter for the 1990 documentary American Dream which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Eventually Hormel filled with plant with employees - at the lower wages - and in 2001 opened the SPAM Museum in Austin. Soul Asylum will release their new album Change of Fortune in March of 2016.