RICHMOND, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. has dropped a lawsuit against a union which agreed to end its economic and publicity campaign against the pork producer.

Reports said that as part of the settlement, both sides agreed to rules for a United Food and Commercial Workers organizing election at the company’s Tar Heel, N.C. hog slaughterhouse.

The announcement came just before the company and union headed into a federal courtroom in Richmond, Va.

U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne ordered the parties to say nothing further about the deal until after the union election, according to reports.

Attorneys for both sides showed up in court Monday morning and milled around briefly before disappearing into separate conference rooms. They returned about 20 minutes later, shook hands with each other and their clients and began filing out of the courtroom without Payne ever convening court, reports said. They declined to answer questions, citing the judge's order.

Spokesmen for Smithfield and the union also declined to comment.


Source: Associated Press