Smithfield worker dies

Smithfield Packing livestock worker Emmanuel McKoy, 27, died June 1 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Although the cause of his death has not been determined, McKoy struggled with Type 1 diabetes and experienced health problems from the disease.

McKoy began working in the livestock department of the notorious Smithfield Tar Heel plant in October of 2006. The plant has been cited by Human Rights Watch and the United Nations for human and labor rights violations.

He was part of the union organizing effort there despite the hostile opposition of the company and even wore his “Justice at Smithfield” T-shirt when he was photographed for his Smithfield ID badge.

McKoy was hospitalized on two occasions in the last seven months due to diabetes, and he was threatened with termination by his supervisor if he missed any additional time because of his illness. When McKoy returned to work after his January hospitalization, Smithfield put him on a job from which he could not be relieved to take his required insulin.

The Justice at Smithfield Campaign is asking that donations to help the family he leaves behind be sent to the Emanuel McKoy Memorial Fund at Interfaith Worker Justice, 1020 West Byrn Mawr Ave., 4th Fl., Chicago IL 60660.

jwojcik @pww.org