Thursday, September 27, 2007

Smithfield Justice Update

There have been recent positive developments in the fight for justice at Smithfield's Tar Heel plant. These positive developments are due, in large part, to the efforts of the coalitions of faith, community, education, activist and union leaders in Boston, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. (among others) and NASHVILLE!! The actions and efforts this past summer followed by a massive march of 1,000 Justice@Smithfield workers and supporters to the Smithfield Shareholder's meeting pressured this company to finally come to the table and negotiate.

The Justice@Smithfield Campaign in support of the workers at Smithfield Foods' Tar Heel plant has already seen remarkable results. The company's pork products have been pulled from shelves of many supermarkets, presidential candidates have made the workers' plight an issue on the campaign trail, national churches and cities have passed support resolutions, and a major network of faith, civil rights, and labor organizations has been formed to speak out on behalf of justice at Smithfield.

The company has taken notice. In the run-up to the shareholders meeting, company and union officials made contact and talks are now underway. While we are still in the early stages of negotiations, we know that we could not have made it this far without your support. The union is calling on the company to remain completely neutral and allow the workers to make their own choice, without any interference, in an independently run, non-NLRB process.

Organizers have entered into these talks in good faith, and will continue to work with Smithfield to reach a fair agreement for the workers, but we also go in with a consciousness of the company's history. In past elections, workers have been threatened, called racial epithets, fired and even assaulted for their support of the union.

Over the next few weeks, organizers will continue to keep the public updated on this process. No matter which direction these negotiations take, they ask your help and support is as crucial now as it has been in the past. The campaign will not end until workers in Tar Heel have a union and a union contract. We are proud to stand alongside you in support of Justice at Smithfield, and we look forward to working with you during this new phase of the struggle.


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