Packing and Processing


Japanese grocery chain to resume U.S. beef sales

By Richard Smith on 9/29/2011

TOKYO — The Inageya grocery store chain will resume U.S. beef sales Oct. 10 on a trial basis, a company official told Meatingplace.

An as-yet-undetermined number of Inageya’s 127 outlets will sell chuck rib, chuck eye roll and strip loin for yakiniku (Korean-style barbecued beef), company meat department general manager Tokio Iso said.

Amount of volumes to be purchased have also not been decided yet, Iso said. “We will see how well sales go so we can determine how we will proceed in handling U.S. beef in the future,” he said.

Since a December 2003 ban on U.S. beef because of BSE, Inageya has not handled the meat despite its import resumption in August 2006. The only beef imports the chain presently offers are from Canada and Australia.

Based in Tokyo Prefecture, the company also has outlets in the neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

U.S. Meat Export Federation Japan’s senior director for trade projects and trade services told Meatingplace his office will support the promotion with special stickers for meat trays and materials for shelf decoration.

“We are delighted to see the resumption of sales of U.S. beef products by a leading regional chain that used to be an active user of our products,” Susumu Harada said.

Nebraska Prime Group Workers Say Union Yes with UFCW Local 293

Two hundred and sixty conventional and kosher beef slaughter workers at Nebraska Prime Group in Hastings, Neb., have exercised their right to join UFCW Local 293. Nebraska Prime Group recognized the workers’ choice for a real voice on the job after an overwhelming majority of workers at the beef processing plant signed cards to show their desire for UFCW representation.

“Our victory is important for me and my family,” said David Pettit, a plant employee and father of three children. “We can work for better benefi ts at my plant and that means I can take better care of my three kids and cover them on my insurance. I’m so glad that Nebraska Prime let us choose a card check process. It speaks a lot for their character and it makes me have more respect for where I work.”

Key issues for bargaining will include Sunday work due to the kosher work schedule, benefits and wages.

Workers Settle Lawsuit With Tyson Foods

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 17,000 Tyson poultry workers in 41 plants in 12 states settled a $32 million dollar lawsuit in a 12-year struggle to get paid for work already performed. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), as the leading union for meatpacking and food processing workers, initiated the suit against Tyson and played a critical role in obtaining justice for Tyson poultry workers and thousands of UFCW members affected by the suit. On Thursday, the United States District Court in Georgia approved the settlement.

“Every American deserves to get paid for the work they do,” said Joe Hansen, UFCW International President. “We’re changing the way meatpackers do business and making them pay thousands of workers correctly.”

The lawsuit charged Tyson with violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Meatpacking and food processing workers wear specialized protective gear while they work to protect both themselves and the food we eat. Before these UFCW-initiated lawsuits began, meatpacking companies didn’t pay workers for time spent taking the gear on and off, adding up to thousands of dollars of lost pay over years of work.

“We’ve already made a change in the way meatpackers pay their workers,” said Hansen. “While this settlement is long overdue, our efforts have ensured that thousands of workers have been paid correctly for years now.”

The lawsuit will result in payments, averaging around $1,000 per worker, to current and former Tyson workers across the country. These payments will inject much-needed money into America’s rural economy and reward a hard-working and dedicated group of poultry workers. The affected Tyson poultry workers work at plants in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

This lawsuit and the new pay practices in the meatpacking industry are just one way union workers raise standards for every worker in their industry, regardless of their union status.