On June 7-8, 2012, 1,200 poultry workers at Pilgrim’s Pride in Russellville, in the US state of Alabama voted overwhelmingly to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
This important organizing win came about despite major efforts by the company to undermine the workers’ support for union representation. These included boycott threats to local businesses which were providing meeting rooms to RWDSU organizers.
For workers, the key issues were the lack of any grievance mechanism and the ability to participate in decisions affecting working conditions. With union representation, they will now be able to change their workplaces – and their lives – for the better.
Pilgrim’s Pride is the US poultry division of Brazilian beef and poultry giant JBS and is the largest chicken producer in the United States.