Federal Judge Allows Smithfield Foods Lawsuit Against Union

A federal judge says Smithfield Foods can proceed in its racketeering lawsuit against a union trying to organize workers at the company's hog slaughterhouse in North Carolina.

But U.S. District Judge Robert Payne told company lawyers that Smithfield must rework its lawsuit to specifically allege how the union would use proceeds gained as a result of its activities.

The Smithfield-based company filed the lawsuit in October against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and several other defendants. The company alleges that the union's so called "smear campaign" is taking away Smithfield's ability to conduct business the way it chooses.

At yesterday's hearing, a lawyer for the union says Smithfield failed to prove how its activities amount to extortion.