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Vol. 72/No. 11      March 17, 2008

Meat packers snap up ‘Militant’
supporters made a special effort February 23 to get the paper into the hands of meat packers throughout Illinois and southern Minnesota. The effort was aimed in part at spreading the news about the victory of workers at the Dakota Premium Foods beef slaughterhouse in South St. Paul, Minnesota, in defending their union and their fight for a new contract. Workers at Dakota are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 789.

Workers at the Cargill hog slaughterhouse in Beardstown, Illinois, grabbed up 39 copies of the paper and three subscriptions at the plant gate during afternoon shift change. Two additional subscriptions and seven single copies were sold going door to door. Beardstown is a town of 5,800 and 2,000 people work at the slaughterhouse. The plant is organized by UFCW Local 431. In April 2007, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 62 workers on the sanitation crew.

Two workers turned around to see the paper as they were driving into the plant. It turned out they were from the Congo and were excited to see the story in the Militant about the Havana Book Fair presentation of the book From the Escambray to the Congo: In the Whirlwind of the Cuban Revolution, by Víctor Dreke.

Two workers told the Militant volunteers that the pace of work is too fast. One woman, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal by the bosses, said there are asbestos hazards in the plant, particularly in the barn areas. She said that old, barely readable signs warn against stirring up dust because of the asbestos. In summer when it is hot, huge ventilation fans are used to cool the area down, stirring up dust.

Militant supporters also sold 12 copies of the paper and one subscription to meat packers at the Meadowbrook Farms plant in Rantoul, Illinois.

In southwestern Minnesota, supporters of the paper sold 30 copies and two subscriptions at the plant gate, and several other subscriptions going door to door in Worthington. Three people who helped lead a fight for a union at the PM Beef plant in Windom last year renewed their subscriptions to the paper.  
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