RICHMOND, Va. – A jury will consider Smithfield Foods Inc.’s racketeering and extortion allegations against the United Food and Commercial Works International (UFCW) in its effort to organize workers at the world’s largest pork slaughtering plant.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne rejected the UFCW’s motion for a ruling that the union did nothing illegal, leaving the matter on the docket for trial starting Oct. 20.

The judge also reportedly rejected three of the defenses the union wanted to use in the case, which he said centers on whether the union advocated a sham election and demanded company neutrality in a scheme to gain representation without the support of a majority of the workers at Smithfield's plant in Tar Heel, N.C.

Payne did reportedly indicate he had difficulty grasping the Smithfield-based company's theory of how the union's campaign violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, which originally was designed to fight organized crime. He asked Smithfield attorneys for additional briefs on that issue.


Source: Associated Press