Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NC Dems Chief Stands Up to Smithfield

When North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek told Smithfield Foods and its subsidiary Smithfield Packing that he would not accept a contribution to the party from them, the company's chief lobbyist made threats against him ... that he would regret that decision, that the lobbyist would be speaking to other big company executives in the state (and the language she'd be using would not be kind), that Jerry Meek Would. Be. Sorry.

The Smithfield lobbyist is Theresa Kostrzewa, a frequent panelist on NCSpin (which airs on local cable channel 18 at 10 a.m. Sunday mornings, among other times).

In response to Ms. Kostrzewa's angry threats, Jerry Meek wrote a letter in response, and yesterday afternoon it was posted on NCBlue.

The Kostrzewa tantrum actually allowed Meek to recount just a portion of Smithfield's "flagrant disregard for worker rights, worker safety, and the environment." Just how "flagrant"?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Smithfield Foods for over 7000 violations of the Clean Water Act. The U.S. Department of Labor has repeatedly cited Smithfield Foods for violating the nation's child labor laws. OSHA has cited Smithfield Foods for repeated workplace safety violations, including the exposure of workers to corrosive chemicals, the use of unguarded blades on cutting equipment, and blocked exits. And the National Labor Relations Board has found that Smithfield Foods engaged in intimidation, threats, and retaliatory practices in response to workers' efforts to improve their conditions.

In 2000, Smithfield Foods became the only meatpacking plant in the United States with its own armed police force. In the ensuing years, this force was found to use violence, intimidation, and threats against the company's own workers.

Congrats to Meek for the courage to stand up to attempted bullying!

Don't you just love the smell of frying bacon in the morning?

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