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Texas Poultry Workers Join Local 540 for a Better Life

July 29, 2021

On July 21, over 400 poultry workers at the Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Waco, Texas, voted to join UFCW Local 540 by an overwhelming margin. As new members of UFCW Local 540, these hard-working men and women will soon form a bargaining committee to negotiate their first union contract to strengthen pay and benefits, as well as workplace safety protections, as COVID-19 cases surge across Texas.

UFCW Local 540’s campaign to unionize Pilgrim’s Pride poultry workers in Waco started in May with the help of staff from UFCW regional offices and locals. UFCW organizers met with workers at the plant during shift changes to help them learn about the union difference and passed out pamphlets in English and Spanish about the benefits of joining our union. Waco community members played a key role in the campaign and helped to pass out the pamphlets during shift changes. Citizenship clinics were a key part of the campaign, helping to introduce the UFCW to the Pilgrim’s Pride employees at the Waco plant and highlighting how our union can support local communities and help workers and their families obtain a better life.

“Texas poultry workers at this Waco Pilgrim’s Pride plant are sending a powerful message that workers have a stronger voice on the job when they stand together,” said UFCW Local 540 President Johnny Rodriguez. “These workers joined UFCW Local 540 because they are ready to stand up for the better pay, increased benefits, and improved working conditions that come with a strong union contract.”

“Essential workers in Texas and across the country in meatpacking plants have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one, putting their health at risk to make sure our families can put food on the table during this health crisis,” Rodriguez added. “Pilgrim’s Pride respected the right of these workers to unionize and stayed neutral throughout this campaign. At a time when giant corporations like Amazon are spending millions of dollars to stop their workers from exercising their right to join a union, Pilgrim’s Pride did the right thing by staying neutral, setting a powerful example for other companies in Texas and nationwide. UFCW Local 540 looks forward to working with Pilgrim’s Pride on negotiating the first union contract for these Waco poultry workers as they stand together to strengthen these essential jobs.”

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