Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.
Virginia Premiere of “Union Time.”
Location: Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists
809 Military Highway
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Union Time: Fighting for Workers’ Rights • 86 min. 2016 • Directed by Matthew Barr
In 1993, a group of employees at the Smithfield Pork Processing Plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, began to work with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to organize the 5,000 workers at the plant. In 2008, after a 16-year struggle, they won the right to form a union.
Jobs in meatpacking are among the most dangerous in the country. Once dominated by skilled butchers working in unionized jobs, the industry gradually moved packing plants to rural areas in right-to-work states. What used to be respected as skilled labor is now broken down into assembly-line tasks, with workers—many of them African American or immigrant—often treated as expendable. Dangerous conditions, wage theft, intimidation, and abuse are rampant.
Union Time weaves together labor rights and civil rights to show how unions can be a potent force for economic and social justice. Above all, it celebrates the courage of meatpacking workers who refused to give up through a 16-year-long struggle.