12/11/07

UFCW in desperation move against TV chef

Paula Deen's restaurant in downtown Savannah draws in hundreds of visitors, but some visitors today are not the kind she may want. Union organizers have rallied their troops and are protesting outside the Lady and Sons on Congress Street. About 40 protesters showed up Monday evening.

Her face is plastered all over the flyers handed out this afternoon, but these aren't happy fans of Paula Deen. "We want Paula to keep her promise," said protester Rigo Valdez.

Valdez and other union members are in Savannah to protest Paula, and rally support for workers at Smithfield Pork processing plant in Tar Heel, who they claim want to form a union to improve alleged poor working conditions.

Deen is a spokesperson for Smithfield products. "We're fans of Paula, that's what bothers us the most," said Brett Hulme, president of the Savannah Regional Central Labor Council. He says Paula needs to keep her word. "She promised on Larry King Live ... August 1."

In the interview, Deen says she met with workers in the past and they seemed happy, even voting against unionizing. "I've been to the plant, met with workers, by myself, no one around," she said. "It's a beautiful company."

"We feel like if she finds out the real story, she'll sing a different tune," said Hulme.

"This is a real desperation move," said Dennis Pittman, the spokesman for Smithfield Pork plant. He says the unions are using propaganda to try to boost membership. "The press release says workers are being beaten, and abused," he said. "It's not happening. There's no way anyone would put up with that situation in a work environment today."

But the message is still being put out there, and the people want Paula Deen to listen.

"The longer she waits, the more people will be hurt in this plant," said Valdez.

This afternoon, Deen released the following statement:
I'm a mother, a grandmother and a cook. I cook for my family, my fans and my customers. That's what I'm an expert at. I wouldn't want a union organizer waiting on tables in my restaurant, no more than they would want me messin' around at their bargaining table. I'm just trying to run a business that was built by good folks who have been like family to me for the past 20 years. The UFCW's attempts to use my name to further their cause is disrupting the livelihoods of my employees, who are trying to earn a living and serve our valued customers. Here's all I need to know about this union issue: I've talked to Smithfield employees in Tar Heel, and they told me they want this settled with a secret-ballot election. And that will happen once the union agrees. It's the American way, as I see it.
(wtoctv.com)

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails