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Last Non-Union JBS/Swift Plant in the USA Chooses UFCW Representation

Posted to the IUF website 02-Dec-2008

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Hyrum JBS/Swift workers celebrating their affiliation to UFCW Local 711

More than 1,100 workers gained union representation with the IUF-affiliated United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 711 yesterday at the JBS/Swift beef plant (known locally as the E. A. Miller plant) in Hyrum, Utah, after voting overwhelmingly for the union. The positive result of this election was the culmination of a determined worker-led campaign.

The Hyrum plant has been in operation for over 70 years and became part of JBS with their acquisition of Swift meatpacking nearly two years ago. It had been the only non-union JBS/Swift plant in the United States.

'We stood together for a better future for our families,' said Isaias Lopez, a 22-year veteran of the plant. 'That was the first step. Now, we can work on a first contract that brings greater opportunity to our workplace.' 'This victory means we’ll have a voice at work,' said plant worker Adalberto Soto.

'When we sit down with management to negotiate that first contract,' continued Soto, 'We won’t sit down alone. We’ll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our ten thousand brothers and sisters at all the JBS/Swift plants across the country, and with all workers in the packing and processing industry. The more workers who unite in our industry—the more powerful we are to make better lives for our families.'

JBS became the world's largest beef company after buying Swift & Co, National Beef and Smithfield Foods’ beef in the US and Australia’s Tasman Group in 2008. JBS/Swift owns 120 plants worldwide, including operations in Argentina, Brazil, Australia, the USA as well as in Italy, Angola and Russia through its joint-venture with the Italian Cremonini Group.