Holten Meat workers win fight for better life, return to work

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By standing together, workers at Holten Meat are building a workplace that lets them build careers and support their families.

Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655 who work at Holten Meat in Sauget, Ill. voted this morning to ratify an industry-leading new contract and return to work immediately. The new three-year contract resolves many of the issues that forced Holten Meat employees to make the difficult decision to go on strike on March 18.

The new contract lets experienced workers move to the shifts they need to be with their families, allows workers to advance their careers with Holten and inaugurates a new era of labor and management cooperation at Holten Meat, with a new group that will meet regularly to solve problems in the workplace cooperatively.

“This union contract lets Holten Meat continue to be one of the best places to work in Sauget,” said UFCW Local 655 President, David Cook. “This company’s continued success is due to the hard-working men and women of Holten Meat and now they have a contract that lets them not only support their families, but advance their careers at work.”

“For close to 60 years, Holten Meat is committed to providing our customers with high-quality meat products. We welcome back all of our team members who help us deliver on that simple promise, each and every day,” said Holten Meat CEO Scott Hudspeth.

“Nobody ever wants to go on strike, including me,” said Trinetta Kitchen, a seven-year veteran of the production line at Holten Meat. “But sometimes we have to stand together to ensure we get what we have earned and deserve to support our families. I work hard, and with this new contract, I’m proud to work hard again at Holten Meat.”

The new contract was overwhelmingly ratified in a secret ballot election held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Cahokia.

UFCW Local 655 leaders, including Cook, and members of Holten’s management will welcome employees back to work tomorrow in a joint labor-management cookout outside of the Holten facility tomorrow.

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