Smithfield Packing Co. officials report that employees at its Tar Heel, N.C. pork processing plant voted to join a union. The United Food and Commercial Workers union would represent the employees. 

The vote, conducted by secret-ballot election, supervised by the National Labor Relations Board passed  52 percent to 48 percent.

"From the beginning, our goal was to give employees the opportunity to vote on this issue in a fair, secret-ballot election. This has now been accomplished, and we will abide by the results. We respect the decision and look forward to working with the union to negotiate a fair labor contract for our employees," Tim Schellpeper, Smithfield Packing Co. president, said in a statement. The Tar Heel vote makes it nine of 13 plants whose workers are represented by a union.

A RICO lawsuit that Smithfield filed against the UFCW was due to go to trial in October when the two sides announced a settlement, and the December vote.
Source: Smithfield,