A union contract at Smithfield Packing: It only took 17 years | News | Indy Week
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A union contract at Smithfield Packing: It only took 17 years

Posted by on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 6:09 PM

click to enlarge unknown.gif

Congratulations to the union and management at Smithfield Packing in Tar Heel, the world's biggest pork slaughtering and packing plant. After 17 years of pitched company vs. union warfare, the two sides have finally come together on a four-year contract -- which was ratified by the workers today.

From now on, it's Local 1208 of the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers).

The union's statement is below the fold.




Deal raises Tar Heel workers’ wages and brings up benefits and

working conditions to union standards

(TAR HEEL NC)—Five Thousand workers at the world’s largest pork

processing plant have their first-ever union contract, after a majority

of workers ratified the agreement over a two-day vote. Members of UFCW

Local 1208 will join more than 10,000 other Smithfield workers, and more

than 240,000 others who work in the meat packing and food processing

industry who have a UFCW union contract.

The new contract includes:

* Wage increases of $1.50/hour over the next four years.

* Continued company-provided affordable family health care coverage.

* Improved paid sick leave and vacation benefits.

* Retirement security through protection of the existing pension plan.

* Continued joint worker/management safety committee, including company

funded safety training for workers.

* Guaranteed weekly hours that protect full-time, family supporting

jobs in the community

* A system to resolve workplace issues.

* 24 hours of paid funeral leave following the death of immediate

family members.

“This contract will completely transform our workplace,” said

Orlando Williams.  “This is the biggest four-year wage increase

Smithfield workers have ever had and it will make a real difference for

our families and in this community. We could never have gotten that

increase without a chance to bargain with the company. We will finally

have a sense of security on the job because through our union we can

make sure we have a safe place to work, and that everyone’s treated


UFCW members who work at Smithfield's other locations all over the

country were paying close attention to the negotiations in Tar Heel.  "I

know the difference having a union contract makes, said Jim Olson, a

steward at UFCW Local 304A and a 35 year veteran of Smithfield's John

Morrell Plant in Sioux Falls, SD.  "The more meatpacking workers who

join our union, the more power we have to raise wages and benefits—in

our own local unions, and for everybody who works in this industry.

That’s what being in the UFCW is all about.”

This is the first contract covering the hourly production and

maintenance workers at the Tar Heel facility and will take effect July

1, 2009.


Tags: ,

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News

More by Bob Geary

Twitter Activity


People discover one weird trick to keep from getting shot by cops (don't commit crimes).

Bonus tip: don't resist …

by Dude on Charlotte discovers one weird trick to solve homelessness. (Give them some place to live.) (News)

The Jordans knew they were purchasing a property in a historic district and to propose demolition of a well-maintained contributing …

by Sarah M. 1 on Durham Historic Preservation Commission to discuss possible Watts-Hillandale tear-down (News)

Latest videos from the INDY

© 2015 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation