Smithfield and MLK Jr. Day

You've probably heard by now that Smithfield Foods plans to dock any worker that walks out or doesn't show up on Monday.
Not the first of the troubles at the plant, which is the largest hog slaughtering operation in the world. Here's the Smithfield Justice site on the issue.
Smithfield workers have organized a petition drive. Text of their sample letter:

For over ten years, the workers at Smithfield Packing in Tar Heel, NC have worked dangerous jobs under extreme conditions. The workers kill and disassemble 32,000 pigs a day in your Tar Heel plant and receive very little respect from management. For years the workers have fought for their right to choose a union in the plant, but time and time again they are met with resistance at the hand of you, Smithfield.

The struggle in Tar Heel has been inspired by great leaders like Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez. Recently, the workers in the plant presented a petition for a paid holiday on January 15th. This is a way for your management to show their respect for the workers and to recognize the importance of this day. Most of the workers are African-American and Latino, 5500 strong, yet are being denied the day off to celebrate this Holiday. Not too far from the plant, an event is planned to commemorate the life and struggles of Martin Luther King, however without the paid Holiday thousands of workers will be unable to attend.

It is in this vein that we ask of you, Smithfield Packing Tar Heel division, to give the workers a paid holiday on January 15th and to honor the great civil rights leaders. It is a simple way for you to show you appreciate the years of hard work the thousands of Smithfield workers have given.

Via Ex


I heard about this on NPR this morning

And what struck me as funny was two things by the managers at Smithfield:
1- That if they were only notified of this request for "time off" months ago, they would have been happy to abide.
2- In 1997 workers had a chance to vote MLK Jr. Day as one of their 8 paid holidays. It was either MLK or EASTER.

Slime. Seriously snake type.

Easter? You gave them a choice not to haev Easter off? Heck now that is borderline against the 1st Amendment.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.


Was making workers choose between Easter and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a shitty move by management? No question.

First amendment violation? No, probably not, since the first amendment states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . ." Since the Tar Heel plant is not run or supported by Congress or any other government source, unfortunately, it's my understanding that the First Amendment doesn't really apply.

Should a plant be closed on Easter? I have mixed feelings about it. Unless each person is given the opportunity of taking religious time off - without penalty - when an important holiday in their own faith comes along, no, I don't think so.

Should workers be forced to choose between what is a traditional holiday for the majority of them and an important holiday in the recent history of our country? No, I don't think so either.

Oh - and a point of clarification: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday. Easter is not.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi


Thanks for the clarification on which is which.

As for holiday choice, my mom's business moved a few years ago to a system where workers are given a certain amount of days they can apply to holidays such as good friday. This means that most take off such days, like normal, but others like my mom get days such as Yom Kippur off instead.

"Keep the Faith"

That's how it should be!


"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

thats bs

a federal holiday is a federal holiday.

edit- signed the petition and sent it to at least 5 people. Hopefully all of you do the same.

"Keep the Faith"

Smithfield is working hard to become the next Mt. Olive

It looks like the senior management of the company isn't even as smart of the hogs they slaughter every day. This is going to blow up big and will put Smithfield at the top of the roster of companies America loves to hate.

Listed on the Smithfield board of directors

After I signed the petition, I poked around the site a bit. It seems that on Smithfield's board of directors is a C. Larry Pope. Does anyone know if he's related to Art?

edited to add

I feel like Father Guido Sarducci, "Find the Popes in Da Pizza" I think it's time to call it a day.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

You could all go to billable hours

Technically I can work whenever I want so long as I get my hours in; practically, I need to go in everyday since most people still work between 8 and 6 and I usually have to interact with others. Also, there is rarely 100's of hours of billable work lined up, that would be neglect.

Me! Me! I want billable hours!

I just don't know where to send my bill. : )

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.