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Smithfield Case Expected to Go to Trial

by 5m Editor
1 February 2008, at 11:23am

US — A US federal court has allowed a civil case brought by pig processing giant Smithfield Foods and Smithfield Packing Company under the RICO statute against the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and others to move forward.

The court denied the Union’s Motion to Dismiss the case while permitting Smithfield the opportunity to amend one of its several counts to more closely track the provisions of the statute.

The companies believe their ability to pursue the case is a pivotal step toward upholding the law, protecting the rights of Smithfield’s workers, and preventing further damage to Smithfield’s business.

After several unsuccessful attempts at reconciliation, Smithfield filed a civil suit in October to seek relief from what it described as the extortionate corporate campaign by the UFCW and their agents over the last several years.

In the complaint, Smithfield says that the UFCW initiated a corporate pressure campaign for the expressed purpose of forgoing a secret ballot election and forcing the company’s "voluntary" recognition of the union as the sole bargaining representative for the hourly employees at the pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina.

Smithfield is seeking compensatory and consequential damages to their business and property, damages resulting from the union's acts and omissions, exemplary and punitive damages for the union's intentional, and malicious misconduct and equitable relief as might be appropriate. Smithfield is also seeking reimbursement for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs and any other relief the court deems just and proper.

5m Editor