Religious, political figures urge boycott of Smithfield products
Published: June 20, 2008
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Tar Heel, N.C., is 341 miles from the nation's capital. But a group of Washington-area religious and political leaders focused their attention June 19 on a Smithfield Meats pork processing plant in Tar Heel -- the world's largest such facility -- to urge a boycott of Smithfield meat products until the company stops what they said is unfair treatment of its workers. "The Washington region is one of the biggest consumers of Smithfield products," said the Rev. Donald Robinson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Washington and emcee for a rally across the street from his church. There should be "one sense of fairness, one goal of fairness, one standard of fairness" at Smithfield, he added. A couple of former employees at the rally said that, like many others, they were fired by Smithfield because they were injured on the job. But according to Smithfield spokesman Dennis Pittman, who spoke to Catholic News Service the next day, the real issue for those calling for the boycott is not working conditions but getting union representation at the plant.
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