In a big step for working families, workers at the Russellville, Alabama Pilgrim’s Pride plant have voted to unionize. The vote, which took place early this month, was 706 in favor and 292 against joining RWDSU. The landslide win says it all- workers need a voice in the workplace.
JBS, which owns Pilgrim’s Pride, is the largest producer of chicken, which is one of the state’s largest industries, in the country. This election marks one of the largest successes for union organizing campaigns in the state, and proves that when workers stick together, they are strong enough to take on even the biggest corporations. In a time when some are saying that the days of unions are numbered, this is uplifting news.
If anything though, this victory should urge workers to continue pushing for what’s right. The Alabama Pilgrim’s Pride workers went up against a great deal of threats from management including massive layoffs, and even plant closure, if they were to vote to unionize. Anti-union literature and “vote-no” t-shirts were handed out at meetings. Even worse however, were the company’s attempts to pressure local businesses to take part in the unfair treatment- like barring union activists from coming inside service stations. They even went as far as booking meeting rooms at local hotels so union staff couldn’t use them prior to the election.
It is saddening how much effort companies like this are willing to put into keeping workers down. With the union on the workers’ side, they are simply protecting the right to stick together. Plant workers deserve to be able to redress grievances at work, and have a chance to give their input about how the place is run. Now, all of that is possible.
We hope this election serves as inspiration to the countless others who are striving to ensure that working families in America are heard.