Last week, more than 200 UFCW meatpacking and food processing workers from locals all across the country attended national chain meetings in Omaha, Neb. Local union leaders, stewards, and rank and file members gathered from Smithfield, Cargill, Tyson, Hormel, Nestle, and Pinnacle Foods. At the meetings, members discussed industry trends, bargaining strategies, contracts, and resolving problems in their plants. Members also attended separate industry meetings on beef, pork, poultry, and food processing. The industry meetings focused on several topics including supply numbers, pricing history and projections, and other industry trends.
There was a health and safety workshop that discussed top issues for 2015, including new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) injury reporting requirements. Many workers attended a meeting of the Solidarity Sisters, a committee for women packing and processing workers. At the meeting, members discussed the importance of having more women workers expand their job opportunities and income potential by bidding for maintenance and engineer positions. These high paying positions are traditionally held by men.