March 11, 2010
Ankeny, IA – The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union represents more than 250,000 men and women who work in the food processing and packing industries, each of whom has a stake in industry consolidation as both a worker and a consumer.
UFCW members and senior officials will be available for comment on Thursday and Friday, before and after the public meetings and workshops. The following is the statement of Mark Lauritsen, International Vice President and Director of the Food Processing, Packing, and Manufacturing Division of the UFCW.
“When done properly, consolidation can stabilize the marketplace, make food cheaper, and raise standards across the industry. But when workers and communities aren’t part of the equation, it’s families and local economies that suffer.
“The diverse group of voices brought to the table by the Obama administration can speak not only to how agribusiness is consolidating, but also why. Big box retailers like Walmart are making record profits on the backs of small businesses by asking suppliers to make more with less. When family farmers and packers can’t meet those unrealistic demands, they’re forced to consolidate.
“We’re long overdue for a system that considers the long-term economic implications of downward pressure from retailers and the consolidation that it causes.”