We cover a lot of important worker struggles on this show, but it’s important to cover worker victories as well—and workers in South Dakota just landed a huge victory. After suffering one of the worst COVID workplace outbreaks in the country last year, leading to four deaths and over 1,200 infections, workers at the Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls refused to back down on demands for better pay and to retain a 15-minute break during the second half of their shifts. When negotiations with Smithfield stalled, UFCW Local 304A members voted overwhelmingly (98%) to authorize a strike, and the company backed down. On this extended mini-cast, we welcome back president of the South Dakota Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Kooper Caraway, to discuss this important victory and what lessons the labor movement should take away from it.

Additional links/info below…

Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive: freemusicarchive.org)

  • Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”
  • Meydan, “Away”

Maximillian Alvarez

Editor-in-Chief

Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
 
Email: max@therealnews.com
 
Follow: @maximillian_alv