Packing and Processing



(Dodge City, Kan.) – A majority of the 2,500 workers at National Beef’s Dodge City, Kansas beef slaughter and processing facility voted to join UFCW District Local 2, in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, on Thursday and Friday, November 3 and 4, 2011.

The workers’ campaign began when several National Beef workers contacted the UFCW seeking a union voice on the job. At that time, National Beef and the UFCW agreed on a fair and balanced process that allowed employees to vote on whether or not they wanted union representation. UFCW represents the workers at a neighboring Cargill beef slaughter and processing plant in Dodge City.

“Helping to organize my co-workers into a union was a life changing journey,” said Rebecca McGary, a worker in the fabrication department at National Beef.

“We know that workers at Cargill, just down the street from National Beef, have had a contract with Local 2 for many years – and that means they have always had a say in their wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Ramon Prieto who works on the kill floor at National Beef and who took a leading role in organizing his co-workers. “That’s why I voted to join the UFCW, so that we all will have a chance to negotiate benefits and salaries, job security, and a better life for our families.”

The National Beef workers are the latest in a series of meatpacking workers to join the UFCW at locations across the country. On October 19, approximately 1,000 workers at a JBS beef kill facility in Plainwell, Michigan joined UFCW Local 951. On October 25, 125 workers at a Farmland Foods facility in Carroll, Iowa joined UFCW Local 440. And in late September, 300 workers at Nebraska Prime in Hastings, Nebraska joined UFCW Local 293.

Global meat union network to convene in Omaha

Feature article from by Micheal Fielding:

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) will host meat industry workers from around the world at the Global Meat Conference in Omaha, Neb., Nov. 1-2.

The conference will be the first U.S.-based gathering of this global meat and food union network. Participants will discuss emerging issues in the meat industry and the impact on workers in the 15 different countries represented by the unions in the IUF.

Participants and speakers include UFCW International President Joseph Hansen; IUF General Secretary Ron Oswald; UFCW International Vice President and Director of the Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division Mark Lauritsen; UFCW Director of Strategic Resources Department Arne Anderson; and Director of the Markets, Enterprise and Resiliency Initiative Barry C. Lynn.

Workers at Carroll, Iowa, Packing Plant Vote to Join UFCW Local 440

More than 125 workers at the Farmland Food meatpacking plant in Carroll, Iowa, voted Tuesday for a voice on the job with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 440. The vote adds the Farmland workers in Carroll to the Farmland Denison workers already represented by UFCW Local 440.

“Im proud that my coworkers stood together to get a long-awaited voice on the job here in Carroll,” said Gary Schaefer, a mechanic in the plant. “We won our union voice by using worksite solidarity among workers from all parts of the world. Our cross-cultural unity was key to bringing everyone together.”

Saul Trevino, a receiving dock employee, said, “Together, we talked to each other about organizing and how together wed be able to advocate for better working conditions for everyone in the plant. Im glad were now UFCW Local 440 just like the Farmland workers in Denison.”

UFCW Local 440 represents 1200 workers in western Iowa in the meatpacking and food processing industry.