The Common Good
March 2007

Sowing Peace and Justice

by Rose Marie Berger, Jonathan Mendez | March 2007

The management of the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina—where 25,000 to 32,000 hogs are slaughtered each day—and the lawyers of a local ...

The management of the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina—where 25,000 to 32,000 hogs are slaughtered each day—and the lawyers of a local Catholic parish came to a verbal agreement after hundreds of employees walked out of the plant last November. The walkout came after Smithfield fired 58 workers following a federally mandated documentation check for immigrant workers. Several of the fired employees reportedly had legal work permits. Father Carlos Arce of St. Andrews Catholic Church in Red Springs, North Carolina, received a phone call from the plant's spokesperson saying that the workers requested that he mediate. "I said, 'You don't have to explain anything to me; you need to speak to your workers directly,' but he insisted that we meet," Arce told Sojourners.

After Smithfield met with diocesan lawyers, the plant invited all 58 fired employees to go through a process to confirm or correct any errors with their Social Security numbers and possibly return to work after the corrections were completed. "Most of the Hispanics that work there are my parishioners," said Father Arce.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)