First the Republic Windows workers of Chicago win their benefits, and now this: After 16 years, the United Food and Commercial Workers have won their campaign at Tar Heel, North Carolina's Smithfield meat-processing plant. As Human Rights Watch reported (and as our 2006 interview with former Smithfield meat-cutter Quincy Harvey demonstrated), Smithfield was not only virulently anti-union but a very, very dangerous place to work. It's great to see that might change, not only at Smithfield, but at other plants throughout the nation. As ISS's Chris Kromm notes, "The Smithfield campaign signals that even in Southern states as notoriously hostile to labor as North Carolina, workers -- when free of intimidation and fear -- can and will organize."
Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.