‘Hog Wild’ presentation set for Wednesday

Published 8:16 pm Monday, August 6, 2018

The Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society and Suffolk Public Library is inviting the community for a historical look on labor strife and Smithfield Foods.

The library will hold the latest in its series of Afternoon Conversations from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Phillips-Dawson House, 137 Bank St. Lynn Waltz will speak about her book “Hog Wild: The Battle for Workers’ Rights at the World’s Largest Slaughterhouse.”

The book examines the harsh realities of the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C. that opened in 1992. According to the University of Iowa Press website, workers that needed jobs faced fast and unrelenting conditions with a high rate of injury. Every time they tried to form a union for higher wages and safer working conditions, the company cracked down.

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These corrupt crackdowns continued for years until a higher-up manager named Sherri Buffkin revealed the company’s aggressive practices.

“Through meticulous reporting, in-depth interviews with key players, and a mind for labor and environmental histories, Waltz weaves a fascinating tale of the nearly two-decade struggle that eventually brought justice to the workers and accountability to the food giant, pitting the world’s largest slaughterhouse against the world’s largest meatpacking union,” according to the website.

Waltz is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee with more than 25 years of journalism experience. She’s also an assistant professor of journalism at The Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University.

The talk is free and open to the public, with extra time expected for the question-and-answer segment following the presentation, according to Suffolk Public Library operations and outreach assistant Thomas Farrar.

Visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com for more information.