American Dream

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Released 1990

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Movie Summary

Director:
Barbara Kopple
Released:
1990
Rating:
PG-13
American Dream is a documentary film that recounts the unsuccessful strike against Hormel Foods Corporation between 1985 and 1986. The local union made the mistake of defying their national union and threw out the existing contract with the company. Unfortunately this act allowed Hormel the opportunity to change guarantees and benefits that had been in place for forty years. The timing was also poor - the nation had just emerged from a deep recession and Hormel's financial position was fragile at best. As a result, Hormel significantly reduced their hourly wage and cut benefits by 30% despite showing a net profit of $30 million. While the local union opposed the cuts, they were not supported by the national union that had worked to get the original standards implemented. The film includes footage of the union meetings as well as Hormel press releases, news broadcasts and in-depth interviews with people on both sides of the issue.
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