We offer the following blog resolution in support of encouraging Paula Deen to make a better choice about who she works with and why. That she opens what she calls her big heart and educates herself about the historic struggle many workers face to be physically safe at work.
We hope that she turns a critical eye to the situation at the Tar Heel packing plant in North Carolina and that she works to understand the difference between not liking your job or having a hard job where you have complaints, and the challenges faced when you are systematically and consistently facing horrible conditions.
And, finally, we hope that Paula Deen understands that healthy family values are worker-friendly and that corporations have a real opportunity to be and become safe and family-friendly places to work.
So today, we offer the following:
WHEREAS Paula Deen is not only connected to but serves as the public face of Smithfield Foods, a meat packing and processing operation,
WHEREAS Paula Deen has received compensation for her relationship with Smithfield Foods,
WHEREAS numerous sources have documented horrible conditions for workers at the Smithfield Plant (source, source, source)
WHEREAS "the cities of Boston, Chelsea, Somerville and Cambridge all passed resolutions supporting the workers at the Tar Heel Smithfield plant and calling for the removal of products made in the plant from the shelves." (source)
WHEREAS "the city of Chicago has already passed a resolution against Smithfield, insiting the company “cease and desist from the deplorable, immoral and illegal conditions they have inflicted on their workers.” (source)
WHEREAS groups like the United Church of Christ have passed resolutions encouraging members to pay attention to the problems at hand (source),
WHEREAS workers have publicly stated that they have tried to contact Paula Deen and urged her to break ties with Smithfield due to some astounding problems at the plant,
WHEREAS "In February 2005, Human Rights Watch released a report that was the result of a year-long research into operations at three separate processing plants operated by Smithfield Foods plant, Tysons Foods and Nebraska Beef company. The report says workers at the plants are frequently injured, then refused medical care or fired." (Human Rights Watch)
WHEREAS numerous sources have documented Paula Deen's public response:
"It is not my expertise." (source)
When asked directly, "If it is somehow found out down the road that Smithfield is intimidating their workers, would you ever pull your name or not be associated with the company?" Deen responds, "You know, all of us in America who work, we all have some complaints about our work. You know it's called work for a reason. It's not called play so there will always be complaints about our work place. . .I am not the one to solve union issues."
WHEREAS Smithfield has been associated with the following products:
Armour, Butterball, Smithfield Lean Generation Pork Tender 'n Easy, Smithfield Self Basting, Lykes, Sunnyland, Jamestown, Gwaltney, Great, Valleydale, Esskay, Reelfoot, Smithfield Ham & Products and Stadler Country Hams.
WHEREAS Smithfield has been associated with the following affilated companies:
- Animex, S.A. - Warsaw, Poland
- Carolina Turkeys (Subsidiary) - Mount Olive, NC
- Charcuteries Imperator S.A. - Saint Priest, France
- Esskay (Subsidiary) - Riderwood, MD
- Gorges/Quik-To-Fix Foods - Garland, TX
- Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. - Smithfield, VA
- Jean d'Erguet S.A. - Quimper, France
- John Morrell & Co. - Cincinnati, OH
- Lykes Meat Group, Inc. - Plant City, FL
- Moyer Packing Company (Subsidiary) - Souderton, PA
- Murphy Brown - Warsaw, NC
- Murphy Farms LLC (Subsidiary) - Rose Hill, NC
- North Side Foods Corp. (Subsidiary) - New Kensington, PA
- Packerland Packing Co., Inc. - Green Bay, WI
- Packerland Transport Inc. - Green Bay, WI
- Packerland-Plainewell - Plainwell, MI
- Patrick Cudahy Inc. - Cudahy, WI
- RMH Foods - Morton, IL
- Showcase Foods - Philadelphia, PA
- Smithfield Division - Smithfield, VA
- Smithfield Specialty Foods Group (Subsidiary) - Portsmouth, VA
- Societe Bretonne de Salaisons France - Landivisiau, France
- Sun Land Beef Company - Tolleson, AZ
- The Smithfield Packing Co., Inc. - Smithfield, VA
- Valleydale Foods, Inc. (Division) - Salem, VA
- Williamsburg Foods, Inc. - Toano, VA
RESOLVED that we cannot and will not in good conscience support, encourage the support of Paula Deen or Smithfield Foods and their subsidiaries.
RESOLVED that we unequivocally state that Paula Deen may not be responsible for the problems and conditions at the workplaces of any products she endorses, but that she is now part of the very corporation creating said problems and conditions.
RESOLVED that we will continue to speak out against worker abuse and intimidation.
RESOLVED that we stand in solidarity with cities, organizations, and individuals speaking out on this matter.
NOTE: I did write to Paula Deen but did not receive a response.