October 22, 2007
Last week, the Justice @ Smithfield team reported that Smithfield Foods had abruptly called off negotiations with employee representatives from the Tar Heel plant. The talks began shortly after the massive rally and march on the Smithfield shareholders meeting in Williamsburg in late August of this year, but it seems they were a ruse to buy the company some good PR while they prepared for legal action.
Smithfield Foods has filed a lawsuit against the UFCW and some its allies under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, legislation originally designed to tackle organized crime syndicates, and alleges that their efforts to draw public support for Tar Heel Workers constitutes attempted extortion.
Clearly, the lawsuit is meant to be a distraction from the ongoing health and safety issues at the plant, and the latest roadblock to finding a long-term solution for workers who have been struggling for years to bring union representation into the plant. The UFCW intends to vigorously fight these baseless allegations.
You can read the union’s full press release here.