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Hi, my name is Jim Macdonald, and I have an odd assortment of interests. In no particular order, I love Yellowstone, I am an anti-authoritarian activist and organizer, and I have a background in philosophy, having taught at the college level. My blog has a lot more links to my writing and my other Web sites. In Jim's Eclectic World, I try to give a holistic view of my many interests. Often, all three passions show themselves interweaving in the very same blog. Anyhow, I think it's a little different. But, that's me. I'm not so much out there, but taken together, I'm a little unusual.

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    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Show solidarity with Smithfield Workers: Join us Saturday in telling Harris Teeter to stop selling Smithfield Meat

    Just last year, Smithfield was found liable for physically assaulting workers, threatening bodily harm, and causing the false arrest of workers for exercising their legal rights. Sadly, Smithfield's abuse of workers continues. Please help stop it.

    What: Action at Arlington Harris Teeter grocery store
    What else: Calling on Harris Teeter to stop selling Harris Teeter ham (made by Smithfield, Inc.) as well as all Smithfield meat
    When: Saturday, December 16, 2006
    At what time? 2PM
    Who: Anyone
    Where is this at? 600 North Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia
    Huh? See this map
    Yes, but how do I get there by public transportation? It’s by the Ballston Metro (Orange Line), Walking from BALLSTON METRO to NORTH GLEBE RD:
    * Exit station using main exit
    * Walk approx. 2 blocks S on N Stuart St.
    * Turn left on Wilson Blvd.
    * Walk approx. 1 block E on Wilson Blvd.
    * Turn right on N Randolph St.
    * Walk approx. 2 blocks S on N Randolph St.

    What we plan to do there: We plan to talk with shoppers of Harris Teeter and others outside of it trying to convince them to not buy Smithfield meat products, including Harris Teeter ham, and convince them to talk with management about pulling those products from their shelves. We also plan to continue our conversations with management about doing the same.

    Those of you who join can do the same or take some other action in solidarity with us and with the Smithfield workers.

    Why:
    From http://www.smithfieldjustice.com:

    “Smithfield Packing has created an environment of intimidation, racial tension, fear and sometimes, violence, for workers who desperately want a voice on the job. The company in Tar Heel, N.C., has been found liable of physically assaulting workers, threatening bodily harm, and causing the false arrest of workers for exercising their legal rights.

    “Human Rights Watch has cited Smithfield Packing for violating international human rights standards in two reports, Unfair Advantage in 2002 and Blood, Sweat, and Fear in 2005. According to Human Rights Watch, Smithfield has violated the rights of workers to organize a union, denied workers compensation to injured workers and retaliated against workers for reporting injuries.

    “Racial tensions have also been stirred up by Smithfield management, in order to keep workers from uniting. Smithfield Tar Heel knows that if this happens, their days violating civil and human rights at the plant are at an end.”

    That’s just the start of the problems that you can read about on the Web site.

    In November 2006, workers at Smithfield’s Tar Heel plant in North Carolina conducted a two day walkout over the company’s wrongful implementation of immigration rules. While the workers forced some concessions, so many issues remain.

    Yes, but why Harris Teeter?

    Harris Teeter is a national high priced novelty grocery chain that especially appeals to local progressives despite the fact that Harris Teeter has a non-union workforce. Most people are not aware that Harris Teeter ham is actually produced by Smithfield’s Tar Heel plant, and Harris Teeter stores also sell Smithfield brand meat along with their Smithfield-produced house brand. During a season where many people purchase and consume ham, in the name of giving and providing food for their families, many do not stop and think how their purchase can adversely affect other struggles. Putting pressure on an important buyer to stop their practices can help put significant leverage on the company until it is forced to deal with the demands of its workers.

    A group of concerned citizens have visited the Arlington store in question and spoke with management. The assistant manager in question has said that he was aware of the situation with Smithfield plants and claims sympathy with the workers in this situation. However, not being in a position to make changes at the store, he promised to take the concerns of the group to the store manager, Dave Wright, and have an answer by Wednesday, December 13. That day has come, and management has not yet pulled the product from the shelves, passing this up the management chain, to Kristin McCoy, Harris Teeter's Consumer Relations Director. They have admitted that others have independently asked the same of Harris Teeter. That is why we are calling for people to go to the store, talk with buyers, and in effect convince people not to buy the meat and to put more leverage on the store to pull it from their shelves.

    I can’t come to the action. Are there other ways I can help out?

    Yes, you can. You can help by calling the Arlington Harris Teeter store at 703-526-9100 and asking to speak with management, or call Kristin McCoy, Harris Teeter's Consumer Relations Director, at 704-844-3100, then press 0. You can also contact and organize actions at other Harris Teeter stores in the area. You can find them on Harris Teeter’s Web site, specifically at http://www.harristeeter.com/default.aspx?pageId=158.

    We are a group of concerned people, and while we are not a part of the UFCW or the Smithfield campaign per se, we encourage people to get much more information at http://www.smithfieldjustice.com.

    1 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Jim, if you really want to make an impact. Ask Giant and Safeway to stop carrying the products. They have UFCW collective bargaining agreements, and have a full line of products including items from the tar heel facility. But the way, some Smithfield plants are unionized.

    12/16/06, 11:53 AM  

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