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Smithfield Foods Delays Labor Violation Trial

Legal maneuver by Smithfield Foods is likely to send an unfair-labor practices complaint to federal investigators in Washington and will delay a trial scheduled for next month.

SMITHFIELD, Va. (AP) -- A legal maneuver by Smithfield Foods Inc. is likely to send an unfair-labor practices complaint to federal investigators in Washington, D.C., and will delay a trial that was scheduled for next month.

The National Labor Relations Board alleges that the pork-processing giant improperly bargained with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on behalf of the Food Processors Local 1046, which represents workers at the soon-to-close South Plant. About 750 workers at that plant will be offered transfers to the North Plant.

A Dec. 7 hearing was scheduled, but NLRB officials say the agency's Washington division will now review the case. The labor board's Baltimore office, which had been handling the case, hopes to reschedule the trial date in an administrative law court for mid- to late-January.

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