Smithfield Foods Files Civil Action against the United Food and Commercial Workers Union under Federal Racketeering Laws
--Requests Relief from Union’s “Malicious and Exploitative Corporate Campaign”--
Smithfield Foods, Inc. and Smithfield Packing Company (“Smithfield” or “the Company”) today announced that it has brought a civil action against the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and their agents. This action follows more than two years of malicious conduct against the Company with the expressed purpose of harming Smithfield’s business and forcing the Company’s ”voluntary” recognition of the Union as the exclusive bargaining representatives of hourly employees at the Company’s pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina. According to the suit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond Division), the extortionate measures employed by the Union in their public pressure campaign violate U.S., Virginia and North Carolina laws, and after several rebuffed attempts at reconciliation, the Company has reluctantly filed a claim for relief under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“the RICO statute”) in order to hinder future attempts by the Union to further damage their business.
According to the lawsuit, the Company alleges that the Union’s violations include, but are not limited to, a public smear campaign, frivolous regulatory investigations, the communication of false statements to analysts intended to reduce Smithfield’s stock price, unlawful interference with current and prospective business relations and a publicly established illegal extortionate pressure campaign intended to drive Smithfield out of business unless the Company agreed to meet their demands against its will.
Through this action, Smithfield intends to expose the Union’s self-interested and self-promoting nature. The Company contends that the Union attempted to force the unionization of the Tar Heel employees as a means of maintaining and increasing the Union’s own power in the face of diminishing nationwide significance. UFCW seeks to gain strategic and financial leverage in negotiations on behalf of other units at Smithfield currently represented by the Union and to generate membership for their organization in order to fund salary increases and pension plan contributions for individuals currently in the Union, though not necessarily for the prospective Smithfield members.
Pursuant to applicable law, 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. Additionally, the Company seeks reimbursement for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.
The lawsuit has been filed and it may be accessed at http://www.smithfieldfoods.com/Investor/Pdf/RICO_101707.pdf.
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