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Packing and Processing

Bottom JBS Swift Worker Top

JBS Swift Worker

UFCW Local 1149

Caret 43%

Union members pay about 43% less for family healthcare coverage than nonunion workers.

60-70%

Of beef consumed in the United States is processed in meatpacking plants by UFCW members.

Caret 15%

On average, members of unionized packing and processing plants make 15% more than their nonunion counterparts.

Working to feed America and beyond.

Whether it’s Campbell’s soup, Welch’s jelly, Kraft mac and cheese, or Quaker Oats—it’s the hard work of UFCW members behind the scenes that helps put some of our nation’s favorite foods on the kitchen table.

UFCW members are highly trained professionals who serve as an extra layer of protection for consumers when it comes to food safety.

Half of UFCW’s food processing members work for the top ten food processing employers, including JBS USA, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, Cargill Inc., Continental Grain Co. (Wayne Farms), Hormel Foods Corp., Marfrig SA (Keystone), Foster Poultry Farms, National Beef Packing, and ConAgra Foods.

The food processing industry is a high hazard industry due to interactions with animals and heavy machinery. Line speeds and other factors also play a role and workplace safety is a key concern.

Our members benefit from joining the UFCW because our union provides workplace safety protections, which gives workers the ability to speak out or stop the line without fear of retaliation or being fired when those protections are denied.

The UFCW works with employers to make sure workers have a seat at the table and a say regarding health and safety in the workplace.

UFCW contracts include health and safety language to protect workers, including safe working conditions, union access to perform worksite inspections and medical and exposure records, training, joint health and safety committees, chief, walking and ergonomic stewards that can accompany government inspectors during their paid time and lastly, provide protective equipment where appropriate.  Our contracts also include reimbursement for protective gear.

Many members also appreciate additional opportunities for career development through job-related trainings or participation in leadership opportunities, such as becoming a steward or serving on a safety committee.  

The UFCW has fought to secure transparency in injury and illness reporting by employers, and partnered with other unions to strengthen whistleblower protections and OSHA protections for workers who speak out about dangers on the job.

No one should have to fight for workplace protections alone. The UFCW has worked with OSHA to conduct targeted inspections in high hazard industries, including the poultry and meatpacking industries. 

The top five UFCW Locals with the highest food processing membership include:

  • RWDSU Local 6 (Birmingham, Alabama)
  • Local 2 (Bel Aire, Kansas)
  • Local 293 (Fremont, Neb)
  • Local 540 (Dallas, Texas)
  • Local 1546 (Chicago, Ill)

Issues facing packing and processing workers

Better wages and benefits

Better wages and benefits

Union workers earn 13% more than nonunion workers, here’s how we do it.

Keeping workers safe

Keeping workers safe

No one should be injured at work, that’s why the UFCW is a national leader in the fight for safer workplaces.

Technology and the future of work

Technology and the future of work

The face of work is changing - how do we respond and what can we do?

Major UFCW-represented employers

Organize your workplace

Are you and your coworkers ready to negotiate together for bigger paychecks, stronger benefits and better lives? If you are, the steps to joining the UFCW are simple.

How to Get Started