Washington, D.C. – The following statement is issued by Joseph T. Hansen, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President, in response to Smithfield Foods purchase by Shuanghui International of China:
“As the representative of more than 16,000 Smithfield Foods workers in 14 states, the UFCW is pleased that current Smithfield management will stay in place and that all collective bargaining agreements will continue to provide strong wage and benefits for Smithfield workers following the sale.
The UFCW has a strong labor-management relationship with Smithfield. Our union has productive relationships with other foreign-owned companies in the food industry including Marfig, Nestle, JBS, Unilever and others. We intend to work with Smithfield’s new owners to build on that same spirit of open dialogue and cooperation.
We will watch the required regulatory process that oversees this proposed sale very carefully to make sure the interests of worker in the pork industry are protected and supported.
The Chinese market for fresh pork is a rapidly exploding market and this purchase reflects that country’s economic need for high quality, U.S.-made pork. The UFCW is pleased that workers in our communities can benefit from the growth and expansion of the U.S. pork industry.”
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.