Smithfield lawsuit against UFCW gets green light — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Smithfield lawsuit against UFCW gets green light

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A federal judge has given the go-ahead to Smithfield Foods’ racketeering lawsuit against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), but cautioned Smithfield that to succeed, it will have to specifically allege how the union will profit from its actions.

Smithfield sued the union under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations—or RICO—Act, which generally is used to fight organized crime. The company said the UFCW’s aggressive unionization drive in its Tar Heel plant amounts to extortion.

“They’re prepared to put you out of business if you don’t succumb to their demands,” a company representative said.

An attorney for the UFCW argued unsuccessfully for dismissal of the lawsuit, saying Smithfield could not show that the UFCW had deprived the company of property. Smithfield pointed to an appearance by celebrity southern chef Paula Deen on Oprah Winfrey’s TV show, in which Deen was barred from mentioning the company’s name, costing Smithfield valuable exposure.

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