Processing Magazine

NAACP chief refused entrance at hog plant

July 23, 2007

The president of the North Carolina NAACP was turned away recently when he tried to visit the Smithfield Foods Inc. hog slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, the Associated Press reports. The Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the civil rights group, said he arrived at the 5,000-employee plant with seven other people, mostly ministers, to talk to plant officials about working conditions that have been a focus of a union organizing campaign. A Smithfield spokesman said the company offered to meet with Barber at a neutral site but Barber refused, electing to go to the slaughterhouse instead. Smithfield has been engaged in a long public exchange with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which has been trying to organize the plant for more than a decade. The plant is the largest hog slaughterhouse in the world, processing up to 32,000 hog a day in Tar Heel, a tiny town about 80 miles south of Raleigh.