Text version of the Militant, a socialist newspaper  
the Militant, a socialist newspaper
about this site directory of local distributors how to subscribe submit a photo or image order bundles of the Militant to sell
news articles editorials columns contact us search view back issues
SOCIALIST WORKERS CAMPAIGN
FRONT PAGE ARTICLES
St. Paul meat packers’ union vote is upheld
NLRB certifies workers’ decision to join UFCW
 
4,000 attend solidarity conference in Havana
 
Tomato workers in Arizona gain first UFCW contract
 
Factionalism in ruling circles around the elections is about future class confrontations  
FEATURE ARTICLES
Pathfinder was born with the October Revolution
 
European currency slides, foreign policy divisions rise
 
forums
Submit Letter to the editor
submit forum
submit to calendar


A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 64/No. 45November 27, 2000

 
St. Paul meat packers’ union vote is upheld
NLRB certifies workers’ decision to join UFCW
(lead article)
 
BY RAMONA BLACK  
ST. PAUL, Minnesota--In a union victory at the Dakota Premium Foods slaughterhouse here, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has certified the representation election held last July, ruling against the company’s charges of unfair practices by the union.

Last July workers at the meatpacking plant voted 112–71 to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789 after a seven-week organizing drive that began with a sit-down strike to protest conditions in the plant, especially the increase in line speed.

Rosen’s Diversified Inc., which owns Dakota Premium Foods, filed charges with the NLRB to overturn the election. The bosses claimed the union had agents working in the plant who intimidated and pressured workers into voting for the union and promised thousands of dollars and work permits to the mostly immigrant workforce if they backed the union. The company went so far as to assert that union supporters threatened to turn other workers in to the immigration cops if they didn’t support the unionization drive.
 
Photo - see caption below Delegates to the world solidarity conference in
Havana came from 117 countries.

Click here for article

In her 64-page ruling, Susan Shaughnessy, hearing officer for NLRB Region 18, rejected the company claims. "I conclude that employer’s objections...are without merit, and I recommend, therefore, that they be overruled in their entirety," she stated.

Workers in the boning and kill departments learned of the ruling at break-time meetings called by company vice president Esteban Cortinas.

"Cortinas didn’t announce whether the union had won or lost. He talked in circles, I think on purpose, to confuse people," said Miguel Olvera, a boning worker and leader of the fight for a union at Dakota Premium Foods. "Cortinas looked like he was going to cry," said kill floor worker José Estrada. "He said the company wanted to take this to a higher court."

A dozen workers went to Local 789’s hall after work to discuss the NLRB decision and the next steps forward.

The NLRB finally "recognized what we had already won," said Olvera. "Now we can take the next step forward. We were being held back, and some people were feeling demoralized. We have to rekindle the energy that people had."

"Now we’ve got to get everyone together and ask for the contract that we all want," said Enrique Flores, a kill-floor worker.

Local 789’s Communications Committee planned a meeting the following day to organize a general membership meeting of Dakota Premium Food workers as soon as possible, said Local 789 union representative Francisco Picado.

A new issue of the Workers’ Voice, the union’s paper produced and distributed by workers, explaining the NLRB decision is planned for the following day as well, Picado said.

Workers’ Voice is also distributed in Long Prairie Packing, another beef slaughterhouse owned by Rosen’s Diversified in Minnesota. The 300 workers there are also members of UFCW Local 789.

Union members at this plant have been defending their union against company harassment and intimidation, and discussing their fight together with workers at Dakota Premium.

 
Printer logo 
Printer-friendly version of this article


 
 
 
 
Home | Text-version home