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D.C. City Council considering resolution against Smithfield Foods

The Washington, D.C., City Council today will talk about whether to ask area supermarkets to stop stocking bacon, ham and other foods from a North Carolina company that some say mistreats its workers.

Eight members of the 13-member council plan to introduce a Sense of the Council resolution accusing Smithfield Foods of creating an environment of “intimidation and fear for workers who desperately want a voice on the job” at its slaughterhouse and meat-packing plant in Tar Heel, N.C.

The City Council resolution will be referred to committee, which will later hold a hearing before casting a vote.

The resolution is part of a continuing public relations effort by the United Food and Commercial Workers union to criticize Smithfield. The union has been trying to organize the plant in Tar Heel for years and has been publicizing worker injuries and what it calls intimidation practices against workers there.

A similar resolution passed last fall in Prince George’s County, Md., a Washington suburb. The union also has launched a $200,000 advertising campaign against Smithfield with ads on area buses and in the subway.

Smithfield defends its record and says it is the union, not the company, that has intimidated workers.

The company also owns a meat-packing plant in nearby Landover, Md., which is unionized.

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