Friday, July 13, 2007

Justice for Smithfield Workers


Nashville clergy, civil rights leaders and consumers will join abused workers to call on two Nashville-area supermarkets to stop stocking Smithfield Foods pork products made at the company's Tar Heel, North Carolina, plant. Community leaders, led by the Reverend James Thomas, Pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church; the Reverend Gwen Felder, Pastor of Ernest Newman United Methodist Church; Civil Rights leader and Presiding Elder of the North Nashville District of the AME Church, Robert E. Keesee; and Professor Ronnie Steinberg from Vanderbilt University, will rally and protest the sale of pork products from Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel, NC, at the H.G. Hills supermarket at 11:00 am, and the PUBLIX supermarket at 1:00 pm, Saturday July 14th.

Two former Smithfield Foods workers will attend and speak at the two rallies. The protests are part of a national campaign sparked by widespread abuse and legal violations by Smithfield Packing in Tar Heel, North Carolina. The national campaign is backed by the NAACP, Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Danny Glover, Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, Judge Greg Mathis and the Progressive and National Baptists, amongst others.

Smithfield Packing in Tar Heel, North Carolina, has a long history of mistreating workers. Various legal rulings found that the company assaulted, intimidated, unlawfully fired and used racial epithets against its workers. Human Rights Watch documented widespread dangerous working conditions. Workers report they are often fired after being injured and unable to keep up with the work. Injuries at the plant have increased 200 percent since 2003 based on OSHA data.

"We are asking these stores to be good corporate citizens and show concern for the communities of those who shop there. They should not be stocking products that are packaged with abuse and suffering," said Vanderbilt University's Professor Ronnie Steinberg.

Saturday, July 14th
11:00am-H.G. Hills, 615 Gallatin Ave.
1:00pm-PUBLIX, 4670 Lebanon Pk.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Kofi Owusu Kowusu@ufcw.org at 202 486 1917, or
Leila McDowell at 202 728 1829.

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