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The New York Times reports this morning that a federal appeals court has ruled that Smithfield Packing Co. violated federal law in its battle almost a decade ago to prevent the unionization of a North Carolina processing plant.

"In a decision released on Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a broad cease-and-desist order that the National Labor Relations Board issued against Smithfield in 2004 in response to complaints by the United Food and Commercial Workers," the NYT writes. The court said that Smithfield engaged in "intense and widespread coercion" and ordered the company to "reinstate four fired workers, one of whom was beaten by the plant's police the day of the election. The court concurred with the labor board's findings that Smithfield's managers were not credible when they insisted that the four workers were fired for reasons other than their support for the union."

Smithfield said it was considering an appeal.
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