In 2016 Professor Matthew Barr of the Department of Media Studies completed “Union Time: Fighting for Workers’ Rights”, a feature-length documentary about the successful fight to organize a union at the world’s largest pork slaughterhouse, operated by Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel, North Carolina. Worker-activists enlisted the help of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in this 16-year struggle, which resulted in better working conditions for the plant’s 5,000 workers.
The film is being shown in academic venues as well as film festivals worldwide. Upcoming screenings include Wake Forest University, Bennett College, Cornell University’s Department of Industrial and Labor Relations as well as the UCLA Labor Center.
Barr raised over $135,000 for the film, and in 2013 received a Regular Faculty Grant as well as a Summer Excellence Grant for the project. In 2013 Barr was awarded a one-semester Research Assignment for “Union Time”.