Fast Food Nation

But most of the workers will never get that vacation

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Unformatted text preview: r a few months of industrial anarchy, Monfort closed the Greeley slaughterhouse and fired all its workers. The days of paternalism were over in Greeley. Ken Monfort was no longer a liberal Democrat. He had become a pro-business Republican. In 1982 the slaughterhouse in Greeley reopened without a union, paying wages that had been cut by 40 percent. Former workers were not offered jobs. Instead Monfort transferred some employees from its Grand Island plant and hired new ones. Although Ken Monfort decided to follow IBP’s tough policy on labor unions, he strongly resisted the increasing consolidation of the meatpacking industry. During the early 1980s one independent meatpacker after another either went out of business or was purchased by a large corporate rival. In 1983, Monfort sued Excel — the nation’s second-largest beef processor — to prevent it from acquiring Spencer Beef, the nation’s third-largest beef processor. Monfort argued that the proposed acquisition would allow Excel to engage in predatory pricing and to reduce competition. A panel of federal judges ruled in favor of Monfort, but Excel appealed their decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. President Reagan’s Justice Department submitted a brief...
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