Postville, IA: nogoodnik employer

On May 12 ICE raided the Agriproccessors plant in Postville, IA, said to be with its 1,000 odd employees the largest kosher meat processing facility in the world. ICE arrested 389 workers for illegal status. This was heralded as the largest ICE raid ever. As it happened, The state of Iowa Workforce Development’s labor division had fined Agriprocessors $182,000 in October, 2007, for safety violations. In May of this year it reduced the fines to $42,750 as part of a negotiated settlement under which the company promises to remedy its practices. One of the key safety problems was mishandling of chemicals.
According to the Des Moines Register, the owner, New York City based Aaron Rubashkin, is a prime example of an employer who resists any form of accountability. It reported (quote follows):
Aaron Rubashkin blamed his troubles partly on the media, which he compared to the state-run news outlets he saw before he emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1953. He referred to American reporters as ‘the lynching press,’ and he dismissed their stories. ‘Everything is a lie,’ he said.
Rubashkin’s statements were criticized Wednesday by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which has tried to organize the Postville plant.
‘We hope that authorities in Iowa, at the federal level and at the kosher certifying agencies, take notice of this company’s total unwillingness to accept responsibility for its actions,’ union spokesman Scott Frotman said in a prepared statement.
‘There is not a slaughterhouse in the country with a more reprehensible record of health and safety violations,’ Frotman said. ‘The fact that the Rubashkins are now on record accusing state and federal investigators of lying, and the fact that they would say the same thing about their own workers, shows just how morally bankrupt the management of this company is, and how important it is for Agriprocessors to be thoroughly investigated.’

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