SMITHFIELD, VA. – Representing more than 1,000 workers at the pork processing plant in Smithfield, the Teamsters Local 822 announced that on March 7, 98% of union members of the plant voted in favor of a new four-year contract that is valued at more than $28.5 million over the life of the agreement.
The ratified contract included a starting wage increase of $2 and an additional $2 per-hour raise in the first year of the contract. The agreement also added an additional week of vacation time for longtime employees and requires the company to present market rate adjustment proposals to the union for approval.
“The negotiating committee also secured an extra week of vacation for senior employees. Importantly, the contract requires management to move 75 jobs from a non-union facility into the bargaining unit facility,” the Teamsters said.
James Wright, Teamsters Local 822 president and vice president at large-elect, said the contract addressed workers’ concerns about issues that came to light during the pandemic over the past two years.
“We knew taking on the largest pork producer in the world would be challenging, but the members of the negotiating committee worked hard to get this historic contract,” he said
"Workers are recognizing their power across the country and pushing for better pay and better benefits – now it’s our turn,” said Valerie Nichols, a member of the negotiating committee. “We knew what we had to get to make this contract work and with President Wright's guidance we made it happen,” she said.
Smithfield declined to comment on the ratified contract.