Smithfield Foods Inc. Files Lawsuit

Smithfield Foods Inc. says it has filed a civil racketeering lawsuit against the United Food and Commerical Workers union, which, for more than a decade, has waged an outspoken campaign to organize workers at the company's massive hog slaughterhouse in rural North Carolina.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Richmond, Virginia,
and accuses the union of engaging in a public smear campaign that
included seeking frivolous regulatory investigations and providing
false statement to analysts aimed at depressing the company's stock

The lawsuit was filed two days after the Smithfield,
Virginia-based company called off talks aimed at holding an
organizing election at the plant. The talks broke down over whether
Smithfield would be allowed to lobby workers against voting in
favor of a joining the union.

The union rejected the demand, citing Smithfield's history of
meddling in past organizing elections. Earlier this year,
Smithfield reached a settlement with the National Labor Relations
Board and agreed to pay $1.1 million in back wages, plus interest,
to employees fired by the company during union elections held in
1993 and 1997.