UNCG Campus Weekly

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Screening “Union Time: Fighting for Workers’ Rights” Nov. 16

The documentary “Union Time: Fighting for Workers’ Rights” will be screened at UNCG as part of the 12th Annual Sustainability Film & Discussion Series on Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Education Building, Room 114. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

“Union Time” was produced and directed by Matthew Barr, professor in UNCG’s Media Studies Department. He will lead a discussion after the screening.

The film tells the story of one of the biggest union victories of the 21st century—the fight to organize Smithfield Foods’ pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina.

From 1993 to 2008, workers struggled against dangerous working conditions, intimidation and low pay. They were organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, whose Justice@Smithfield campaign brought national attention to the struggle. Also involved in the campaign were the North Carolina NAACP, led by Reverend William T. Barber, and the Beloved Community Center of Greensboro, with leadership from Reverend Nelson Johnson. The victory led to the formation of UFCW Local 1208 and fair working conditions for 5,000 workers.

“Union Time: Fighting for Workers’ Rights” has been shown in many venues, including the National Black Theatre Festival’s Film Fest, at Wake Forest University, Bennett College and the School of Industrial and Worker Relations at Cornell University, along with a number of universities. This week it is being screened at the UCLA Labor Center, Los Angeles, and at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, Berkeley, California.  

Barr, who produced and directed the documentary, filmed from 2007 to 2015. His film work focuses on the impact of globalization and social change on working people and working communities.

Questions about the film series? Email sbdorsey@uncg.edu.