A number of studies have explained the industrial relations dynamics of New Zealand’s most important export sector by examining its turbulent pattern of disputation. Rather than focus on industrial disputes in isolation, this paper traces a series of organisational relationships that followed the production of meat - through processing, storage and shipping - from farmer to consumer. The main focus of the paper is the relationship between meat processing employers and their association officials. The paper explains why individual employers attempted to challenge association policies and why association officials attempted to regulate the behaviour of their recalcitrant affiliates. Set during a period of both product market and industrial relations transition, the paper demonstrates how association officials strove with mixed success to present a united front to the industry’s powerful unions, preserve relativities between different groups of workers, contain operating costs, and, overall, regulate competition within the industry.