In March, workers, including Santos Muriel and Munoz Marquez, voiced concerns to management for their safety due to the working conditions and line speed. A majority of workers in the loins boning section of the production line refused to return to work until management either slowed the production line or hired more workers. The company initially responded to the workers' concerns, but conditions quickly began to deteriorate when Smithfield forced workers to work too close together wielding knives.Smithfield is not a nice company:
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) filed a charge with the NLRB on behalf of Santos Muriel and Munoz Marquez, alleging Smithfield engaged in unlawful action in retaliation against them for speaking out about safety conditions.
Smithfield has a long history of exploiting workers and creating a climate of fear, intimidation, and abuse at its hog kill and processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C. In April, the NLRB found the company and its cleaning contractor, QSI, Inc. guilty of violating workers' rights by threatening arrest from federal immigration authorities, physical assault, and falsely arresting a worker. Human Rights Watch, an internationally renowned human rights organization, issued special reports in 2000 and 2004 citing Smithfield's record of worker abuse and utter lack of disregard for workers' rights and human rights.As a reward for their model behavior, Smithfield executives received very generous bonuses in fiscal year 2005
- The Daily Toll Of Meatpacking Workers, August 3, 2005
- All US Has To Offer Meat and Poultry Workers Is 'Blood, Sweat and Fear' , January 25, 2005