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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Department of even more followups

Posted by Thomas Nephew on January 26th, 2007

Pay attention to the Smithfield Tar Heel walk-out, 11/17/06 — On the heels of last November’s successful walkout, “Justice at Smithfield” is reporting that the empire strikes back — this time with help from the feds:

On Wednesday, January 24, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers (ICE) arrested 21 Smithfield workers from the Tar Heel plant. The arrests come on the heels of the company announcement that it will fire up to 600 people next month primarily those who walked out in protest last November over the firings of fellow employees allegedly for receiving social security no match letters. This is yet another attempt on the part of Smithfield to terrorize the workers who have been struggling for a collective voice on the job for over a decade.

There’s no work force like a deportable work force. In a statement, “Justice at Smithfield” says the arrests violate the ICE’s own guidelines: “The arrests, which are likely to increase, are also … in violation of ICE’s own instructions which preclude the agency from facilitating the use of immigration laws of enforcement to intervene in the course of a labor dispute.” Click the “Justice at Smithfield” link to see what kind of help they’d like; currently, it’s e-mails to the CEO and chairman of the board.

“back over there or you’re gonna get tased too”, 11/17/06 — The LA Times Andrew Blankstein reports Mostafa Tabatabainejad will be filing a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations:

[Attorney Paul Hoffman said] “The larger goal of the suit is to change the way UCLA police behave and treat people on campus, their discipline and their training.”

A November 17 Daily Bruin article quoted the ACLU’s Southern California managing attorney Paul Eliasberg saying the threat quoted in the post headline — in response to asking for a badge number — is “absolutely illegal”: “[T]hat’s assault.”

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NOTES: LA Times UCLA followup via netzoo.
EDIT, 1/26: Smithfield links and e-mail campaign mention added.

4 Responses to “Department of even more followups”

  1. anonymousgf Says:

    I’m not familiar with Smithfield. I see they produce for a lot of brands. LINK. Is there any kind of boycott going on?

  2. Thomas Nephew Says:

    There was a campaign as late as last December to pressure one grocery chain, Harris-Teeter, to not buy Smithfield products. I think that’s ongoing. Here’s a 12/3/06 report in the Raleigh News & Observer about that, stored at Justice at Smithfield.
    There isn’t a formal call for a consumer boycott of Smithfield by JatS or UFCW right now, as far as I can tell. Nevertheless, I’ve personally decided not to buy Smithfield, and have actually left stuff on the shelf. (Thanks for the link — I didn’t know “Butterball” was Smithfield, too, for example.) There is an e-mail the CEO and Chairman of the Board campaign, though, and a letters to the editor campaign.

  3. Nell Says:

    Check your email — hope to see you in DC!

  4. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Great!

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