Twelve hundred hourly workers at Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plant in Russellville will soon have union representation after a vote earlier this month.
Workers voted 706 to 292 in favor of joining Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union. The vote took place June 7 and 8 in a secret ballot election.
Randy Hadley, mid-South council organizer for the union’s region who is based in Athens, said the campaign to bring in the union is one of the most successful organizing campaigns in Alabama in the past 10 years. He said the poultry industry is one of Alabama’s largest.
“I’d been in contact with workers the past two to three years when they would have issues that would flair up,” Hadley said. “I finally got a call from a couple of guys who wanted to meet with me. You could tell things had gotten way out of control.”
Hadley said workers complained of many grievances among them no time to take restroom breaks and not adequately addressing accidents or injuries or having a voice to express their concerns.
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