Hormel Food workers at four plants in Iowa and in several other states have rejected a contract proposal and authorized their union to call a strike, if necessary. Workers from Hormel plants in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota overwhelmingly rejected the company’s contract offer. Officials of the United Food and Commercial Workers union have called for federal mediation, and are guardedly optimistic. Hormel workers in Austin, Minnesota, say they’re hoping for the best. A statement from Hormel says the company leads the industry in the wages offered to its employees — and the rejected proposal would have continued that leadership position. Hormel’s flagship plant in Austin was the site of a long strike in 1985 and ’86. In Iowa, Hormel has plants in Algona, Fort Dodge, Knoxville, and Osceola.