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A Win For The Good Guys

Okay, the anti-union Southern GOP managed to put the screws to the auto industry this week - but this, on the other hand, is a big win: After an expe

Okay, the anti-union Southern GOP managed to put the screws to the auto industry this week - but this, on the other hand, is a big win:

After an expensive and emotional 15-year organizing battle, workers at the world’s largest hog-killing plant, the Smithfield Packing slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, N.C., have voted to unionize.

The United Food and Commercial Workers, which had lost unionization elections at the 5,000-worker plant in 1994 and 1997, announced late Thursday that it had finally won. The victory was significant in a region known for hostility toward organized labor.

The vote was one of the biggest private-sector union successes in years, and officials from the United Food and Commercial Workers said it was the largest in that union’s history.

The union won by 2,041 votes to 1,879 after two years of turmoil at the plant. As a result of a federal crackdown on illegal immigrants, more than 1,500 Hispanic workers have left the plant. Its work force is now 60 percent black, up from around 20 percent two years ago.

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