LeDuff, Charlie. "At a slaughterhouse, some things never die; who kills, who cuts, who bosses can depend on race." New York Times 16 June 2000: A1. 5975 words.
This article, sixth in a series, “How Race is Lived in America,” presents an inside view of grueling work conditions, low wages, and tense race relations at the Smithfield Packing Co. in Tar Heel, North Carolina. The 973,000-square-foot Bladen County plant employs 5,000 people, including Indians and Mexicans from nearby Robeson County. The article's author secured a job at the plant as he gathered information for the story.
LeDuff saw signs of racial segregation in job assignments. Hog killing jobs tend to go to Blacks, cutting to Mexicans and prisoners, box making to Whites and Indians, and supervisory jobs to Whites.
Sources interviewed for the article assert that there are far more Mexicans in Robeson County than census figures indicate. The plant in Bladen County, by employing Mexicans, receives tax revenue, but Robeson County finds itself with additional social problems and strain on public resources.
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