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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kick Down the Doors at 4:30 Am - Or Smithfield and ICE Say Zig Heil!

This is a developing story ....

Exactly one week before a major protest was planned for the Smithfield Annual Shareholders' Meeting, which moved to Williamsburg from its traditional Richmond location, reports are surfacing that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has somehow gotten the addresses of supposed undocumented workers for the company. At 4:30 this morning, they kicked in doors and used dogs to round up as many as 30 people in an effort to intimidate workers trying to organize a plant.

This comes in the wake of a major union organizing campaign at one of Smithfield's North Carolina facilities. Smithfield, which operates both unionized and non union facilities has been bitterly fighting the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) organizing efforts for years.

This is not the first time that Smithfield has used ICE to intimidate workers. As shown here and here, Smithfield has a history of using the federal immigration authorities to intimidate workers fighting for basic rights and human dignity. But, as is pointed out in these articles, Smithfield likes to avoid having the raids occur at their facilities. So this time they managed to get ICE to knock in the middle of the night. Yes, just like the Gestapo and the Bolsheviks in a sadder age and in another continent.

Or, for many who remember a different era, even here in the U.S., it looks like Smithfield got the the descendants of the Southern Klan to kick down the doors last night!

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