Smithfield Packing, Union Reach Contract Agreement

TAR HEEL, N.C. (AP) -- Smithfield Packing Co. and a union that worked for years to organize a huge North Carolina slaughterhouse say they have agreed on their first contract for the plant.

Smithfield spokesman Dennis Pittman confirmed the agreement Friday, but said he couldn't provide details until the workers were informed. A union ratification vote is scheduled June 30 and July 1.

The company began negotiating on the contract in February with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208. About 5,000 workers are eligible to vote on the contract.

The two sides spent 16 years in a heated dispute over union efforts. The union won the support of a majority of voting workers in December.

Smithfield Packing is a wholly owned subsidiary of Smithfield, Va.-based Smithfield Foods Inc.

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