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Employees speak out about Smithfield union representation

READ MORE: Employees speak out about Smithfield union representation
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It was close, but in the end, workers at the Smithfield Packing Plant in Bladen County voted to become part of a union. The outcome of yesterday's secret ballot vote in favor of union representation has many wondering what's next for Smithfield Packing. After a two-day election process, the tally came to 2,041 in favor to 1,879 against joining the United Food and Commercial Workers Union; a 162-vote margin. Though it was hardly a landslide victory, the employees of Smithfield have spoken. It's now official, and those in favor of the union say the outcome is overdue. Marquita Brooks, a Smithfield employee said "Anything is better than what we were going through. We gave Smithfield a chance and seeing how they run things and we didn't like it. So we are going to give the union a chance to see how they run things. I know it will be better at Smithfield Packing." Another employee, Lemuel Heslip said, "That's what the union is really about, the people standing up for themselves and uniting." The possibility of union representation for employees at the Tar Heel hog processing plant has been on the table for the past 16 years. After two previous attempts to unionize failed, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union launched an aggressive campaign in 2006, including boycotts. Smithfield filed a lawsuit against the UFCW and both companies agreed the workers would decide in an election. The push to unionize began after workers claimed they were being mistreated and had poor working conditions. Issues few feel comfortable talking about on camera. An anonymous employee said, "Poor working conditions, we are over worked. I feel like we are under paid. We are not asking for much, we just want a little acknowledgment." As unionized workers, employees are hoping for higher wages, improved working conditions and better health care benefits. UFCW already represents employees at eight other smaller Smithfield Packing Plants around the country; the Tar Heel plant makes nine. Contract negotiations to address workers concerns will begin after the holidays. A Smithfield spokesperson said they are looking forward to working with the UFCW and respect the latest election results.

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The Unions

I keep up with the News as much as possible and you would think that people would realize that the union is not all it is made out to be I believe in every one should make a fair salary but not have a union come in and tell the employer how much you should make and how to run these companies Hire back the ones that a re LAZY AND RIDE the CLOCK and just dont care because I am UNION and they cant fire me all of a suddeon every one is walking around with the chip but a few that are up standing employes and do there JOB until it is time to go home.Unions are out for nobody but the LAZY and alot of you will figure it out.

Great, now you got your union.....

and now you get to learn firsthand how it works.....your union will sit down and demand a bunch of things from your boss. Eventually, Smithfields will give in to the union demands. Not too long after that, your employer will start laying off a third of you in order to afford to keep the plant open. Then, faced with increased payroll and lower production (cuz Union won't let you work overtime anymore) - the plant will eventually close. Then all of you will be out of a job - looking to the gov't to 'make things right'. Wave bye-bye to your job as it ships off to Mexico.

Done

Done with Smithfield!!!!!

UNION

Smithfield should closeddown and move somewhere else. There are people who will work without a UNION. They will be glad to have a job too. The UNION just wants money for saving youj the trouble of being laid off or having problems at work. You can call the media and report to them any problems and it will be all over the county before you know you. UNION just wants your money again. You have to pay them for your job. WOW they just wnat your money again

I suppose that before long

I suppose that before long they will be walking a picket line demanding more money and benefits. This is what happened at GM, Ford and Chrysler and you see where it got them. If they don't like the working conditions at Smithfield, go somewhere else.