Thursday, December 7, 2006


Employees at a Smithfield Foods slaughtering plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina returned to work after walking off their jobs to protest the firing of 100 illegal immigrants who used phoney Social Security numbers to get jobs. About 1,000 nonunion workers, mostly Hispanic, eventually participated in the two-day walkout. The company insisted that it only wanted to obey federal laws against hiring illegal workers, but that may have been a ruse. The hog processing plant, which employs over 5,000 workers and slaughters up to 32,000 hogs a day, has a long history of labor-management disputes and the company wants to prevent its workforce from becoming unionized. Among other things, including violating labor laws, the company is accused of recruiting cheap laborers in Mexico and busing them to North Carolina. The company's harsh treatment of workers has earned it condemnation for human rights violations. The company's sudden concern about obeying federal law, some say, is a tactic to discourage organizing efforts by the United Food and Commercial Workers. Here are two video clips, the news report and the interview with the directors of the film Fast Food Nation, both from CNN's Lou Dobbs, which highlight different aspects of this unfolding story.