Thursday, March 10, 2005

Organizing Around Safety In Tar Heel

My friend Rory from across the sea notes that I neglected to read an important sidebar to Sunday's story about the Tar Heel, North Carolina hog processing workers.
The United Food and Commercial Workers has been trying to organize workers at the plant for more than a decade. A collective bargaining contract would, among other things, strengthen worker safety programs at the plant, the union contends.

The union lost elections at the plant in 1994 and in 1997.

In December, the National Labor Relations Board ordered a new union election at the plant after it determined that the company had used unfair labor practices, including threats against employees, to try to quash the union campaign.
As the article implies, health and safety has been a major theme of the organizing campaign which has been so dirty that the NLRB has ordered new elections. You can read more about the Smithfield campaign here.