Edwards Joins Smithfield Foods Fight

Johnn Edwards

Former senator John Edwards is wading into the fight between Smithfield Foods and the union trying to organize its workers at a slaughterhouse in Bladen County.

The Democratic presidential candidate focused Thursday on the behind-the-scenes battle at the plant, which the United Food and Commercial Workers is using to push legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize. He met with more than a dozen workers from the plant.

Commonly known as "card check," the proposed change in federal law would force companies to recognize a union after 50 percent of its employees had signed union cards. Currently, companies can demand that workers voting to organize do so through a secret-ballot election.

Smithfield argues that card-check voting would replace secret-ballot elections with a system that favors high-pressure labor organizers who could badger workers into signing the cards.