A decade ago, the appropriately named Terry Slaughter organized slaughterhouse workers. Little did these workers know that he eventually would steal their dues. On February 26, Slaughter, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208, was sentenced in Raleigh federal court to six months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling funds from the Tar Heel, N.C. union, which represents employees of Smithfield Foods pork processing plants in the Carolinas. He also was ordered to pay $63,315.18 in restitution. Slaughter had pleaded guilty in February 2019. Ex-local President Keith Ludlum pleaded guilty this January to stealing over $200,000. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Slaughter, now 46, a resident of Fayetteville, N.C., served as secretary-treasurer of Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208 during 2011-15 following a bitter corporate campaign and organizing drive against Smithfield waged by the international union. Management eventually relented, and the UFCW won representation. Slaughter and Ludlum helped lead those efforts. But by 2014 they had lost their luster. Suspicious members were demanding the parent union audit local finances for what appeared to be missing funds. The UFCW report concluded that during January 2012-March 2015 Slaughter and Ludlum had embezzled substantial sums. The Department of Labor then initiated its own investigation. The conclusion: Slaughter and Ludlum stole a respective $62,509 and $216,344. Since the internal audit and the duo’s departure, the union has operated under a trusteeship.