October 30, 2008

Iowa Smithfield Workers Ratify Strong New Contract


Sioux City, Iowa– Nearly a thousand workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1142 voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract with Smithfield Foods at the companys John Morrell Plant in Sioux City, Iowa. The four- and a half-year agreement delivers wage increases that keep plant workers at the top of the industry standard and maintains affordable health care.

Weve been at the bargaining table since last October, said UFCW Local 1142 President Warren Baker. The negotiations were contentious. Theres always give and take, but, in the end, we arrived at a fair settlement.””

The new contract establishes:

–Wage increases including $1.50/hr. base wage increase over the life of the contract for production workers and $1.65/hr. base wage increase for maintenance workers.

–Maintains affordable health care, with no co-premium increases in the first or last half year of the contract. Weekly increases of $1.50 for individual and $3 for family coverage are triggered in years two, three, and four of the contract.

–Maintains pension security

–Increases sick pay

–Improves working conditions

The contract is really good in terms of the health insurance, said Gary Petz, who has worked at the plant for 23 years. Overall, the good wage increases and benefits are a result of everyone sticking together for a contract that provides security for our families.