Union That Took On Mount Olive Turns Aim Toward Tobacco Workers

A union that pushed the Mount Olive Pickle Company to support its organizing drive turns its attention this weekend toward another well-known North Carolina company.

Labor leaders are kicking off a new drive to unionize tobacco field workers with a rally today at the headquarters of RJ Reynolds Tobacco.

The drive is led by the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, which says Reynolds should use its corporate clout to make tobacco farmers to hire unionized workers. The union got similar results through a five-year boycott of Mount Olive products. The company finally agreed to pay more for cucumbers and demand that its suppliers allow labor organizers in their camps.

An RJ Reynolds spokesman says it won't negotiate with the union because labor agreements are between the farmers and the field workers.