UFCW secures three-year contract for 70 employees of Cincinnati Processing in West Chester

Empire Foods unit faced strike vote in March

CINCINNATI - The United Food and Commercial Workers Union has announced a new three-year contract for 70 employees of Cincinnati Processing, a pork-processing plant in West Chester.

Terms of the deal were not announced. It followed more than a decade of failed organizing attempts at the plant and the certification of a new bargaining unit at the company last November. Earlier this year, the newest group of UFCW Local 75 members unanimously voted to strike before new contract terms were reached, according to a union blog pos t in which six-year employee Ignacio Huerta praised his coworkers for "standing together" to make the new contract happen.

“With this contract we were able to improve our working conditions and win a voice on the job,” Huerta said.

Cincinnati Processing is a unit of Empire Foods., a Blue Ash –based company that supplies perishable foods to grocery retailers from 16 locations in 13 states, according to its web site. Kroger and Costco are among its customers.

The company declined to comment for this story.

Empire was offered tax credits from the state of Ohio and the city of Mason in 2012 for a $7 million expansion that was expected to create up to 200 jobs on Mason Montgomery Road north of U.S. 42. The company said it would build a meat-processing plant on a 22-acre site and bring jobs with average annual salaries of $25,000 to the site.

“It’s still an active project with a delayed start time,” said Michele Blair, Mason’s economic development director. “We look forward to hearing when the groundbreaking will be.”