AUSTIN, MINN. — Hormel workers at the Austin, Minn., processing plant will vote this week on a “final offer” from the company regarding worker wages, safety and benefits.

The most recent contract expired Sept. 10.

Representing the workers in negotiations, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 663 recommended the employees vote against the new offer.

“Last week, Hormel gave us their ‘final offer,’” the union said. “They refuse to give us good wages and secure pensions after record company profits. We, the bargaining committee, unanimously recommend a ‘NO’ vote next week. We believe we can win more if we stick together.”

In response to the pending decision, Hormel expressed optimism for a deal to be reached.

“While we are disappointed we have yet to reach an agreement, we remain optimistic,” said company spokesperson Rick Williamson. “Hormel Foods has had strong working relationships with the UFCW for decades, including in Austin. Our representatives will continue to negotiate in good faith.”

Last week, while negotiations were still ongoing, meatpacking workers gathered for a Labor Day march organized by UFCW to stand in unity.

UFCW Local 663 represents 1,600 essential meatpacking workers at Hormel.