Workers rallied outside a ConAgra plant gate yesterday [Wednesday], demanding that the meat processing giant officially recognise the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 271.

Supporters at the rally, including community and religious leaders, claimed the company had systematically intimidated and harassed workers during a union drive two years ago, and insisted that ConAgra’s anti-union campaign terrorised a majority of the workers against voting for the union.

“We all believed the company’s promises in the last election, but none of the promises were fulfilled,” said Maria Pinto, a ConAgra worker and leader in the organising effort. “We want our union because we want to have a better future and be treated with respect.”

A total of 500 meatpacking workers have now expressed their wish to join the UFCW. and say that ConAgra should respect that choice and begin bargaining a contract with them. If the company refuses, the workers demand the opportunity to vote in an election.

Community and religious leaders called on ConAgra to stay neutral throughout any election campaign and to promise a free and fair election. Workers yesterday filed a petition for an election with the National Labor Relations Board.

To read about attempts to implement union practices in Smithfield meat packing plant, click here.

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