Judge in Va. hears Smithfield lawsuit arguments

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A federal judge in Virginia is considering whether Smithfield Foods' racketeering lawsuit against a union should go to trial.

U.S. District Judge Robert Payne heard arguments from lawyers for both sides Monday. The company and the United Food and Commercial Workers union each want the judge to rule in their favor.

The lawsuit stems from the union's efforts to organize workers at Smithfield's hog-slaughtering plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina. Smithfield claims the union illegally demanded a sham election and the company's silence on union representation.

The union says it did nothing wrong and that the sham election was never part of its official bargaining.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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