Union workers at South Dakota meatpacking plant considering strike

June 3, 2021

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Workers at a South Dakota meatpacking plant that became a coronavirus hotspot last year are considering a strike after contract negotiations between Smithfield Foods and the union have stalled.

The Sioux Falls chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union threatened to move for a walkout and work stoppage if the company, based in Virginia, does not resume negotiations on a new four-year contract.

The dispute has centered on the wages for meatpacking employees, health care costs and break times.

The union pointed out workers have risked their health and lives throughout the pandemic, arguing the company should do more for its employees.

Smithfield Chief Administrative Officer Keira Lombardo says the union’s comments about negotiations were inaccurate.