Food fight: labor activists target Paula Deen at MOA
On Thursday evening Food Channel celebri-chef Paula Deen appeared at the Mall of America to pimp her new memoir, It Ain't All About the Cookin' . The book reveals, among other things, the Southern culinary diva's "reluctant addiction to smoking" and "weakness for salty language."
Deen had some unwelcome visitors at the MOA gathering, however. A group of labor activists from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789 showed up to pass out flyers regarding Smithfield Foods. The company operates the world's largest pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, and Deen endorses its line of products. (Click here for video of Deen preparing Crunchy Honey Glaze Spiral Sliced Ham.)
The flyer accused Smithfield of violating federal labor laws by assaulting, harassing and threatening workers. It also pointed out that Human Rights Watch had issued a report criticizing working conditions at the plant. The UFCW has unsuccessfully been trying to organize workers at the Tar Heel plant for more than a decade. The union is targeting Deen as part of its Smithfield Justice campaign.
"As fans of Paula Deen, and advocates for human decency, we ask that Paula Deen have a heart and stop promoting products that are packaged with abuse," the flyer concluded.
Apparently the literature drop was not welcome. Three of the labor activists, including Local 789 president Don Seaquist, were removed from the mall by security guards.
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