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Postville, IA - Workers: Problems Persist at Agriprocessors

Published on: June 29, 2008 07:07 PM
By: AP
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Postville, IA - Workers say that Agriprocessors in Postville has done little to improve the safety and welfare of its workers since the plant was raided in May.

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More than a dozen current and former employees reported last week that poor working conditions persist at the plant. Low pay and high turnover are common at the nation’s largest kosher meat-processing plant.

Agriprocessors also operates a plant near Gordon, Nebraska.

Agriprocessors spokesman Chaim Abrahams says the company took steps last week to ensure it complies with all state and federal laws.

But a half-dozen current and former employees who have previous meatpacking experience say they have never worked at a plant with such inadequate training.

Derrick Howard quit because he says Agriprocessors seems more worried about production than its workers.



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Read Comments (29)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 29, 2008 at 07:25 PM joe Says:

notice they could only find a half a dozen workers who have a problem with agri's

2

 Jun 29, 2008 at 07:26 PM Anonymous Says:

enough with agri, who cares let the story die........

3

 Jun 29, 2008 at 07:53 PM anonymous Says:

The goyish world must look at this and get very angry. They see that a plant that produces 60-70% of the Kosher meat in the USA has to rely on cheap workers with no training doing dangerous work.

Let me put it another way. In order for Jews to have their Kosher meat, they have to rely on illegal workers, getting inadequate training to do dangerous jobs, getting very low wages, less than any other unionized meat plant in the US.

Is this how we want the Goyim to think of us? Is this how stories on how we make Matza or hummentash get started?

Shame on companies that perpetuate these myths by putting the dollar above Yiddishkeit!!

4

 Jun 29, 2008 at 08:16 PM anonymous Says:

This is the entire AP article. I can't wait to see what the spinmeisters will do with this.

Workers: Problems persist at Agriprocessors
Associated Press
3:10 PM CDT, June 29, 2008
POSTVILLE, Iowa - Despite being the site of the largest single-site Immigration raid in U.S. history, workers say that Agriprocessors in Postville has done little to improve the safety and welfare of its workers.

More than a dozen current and former employees reported last week that poor working conditions persist at the plant, with low pay and high turnover also common at the nation's largest kosher meat-processing plant.

Agriprocessors spokesman Chaim Abrahams said the company took steps last week to ensure it complies with all state and federal laws. On Thursday and Friday, he said, a workplace safety compliance expert toured the facility to review its practices.

But workers say their complaints are not new -- over the years, Agriprocessors has left a long trail of workplace safety violations documented by state and federal authorities.

Earlier this month, Jim Martin, a former U.S. attorney, was hired as the company's chief compliance officer. He said he's spent a significant amount of time with plant supervisors addressing "workplace health and safety issues."

On Friday, for example, he notified employees of a toll-free, bilingual tip line they can call to report any concerns anonymously.

But those actions came too late for Derrick Howard. Standing last week amid "Now Hiring" signs on the plant's lawn, Howard, 32, waited to begin the 50-hour journey home to Amarillo, Texas.

A veteran of the industry, he said he expected the backbreaking labor, but he said he was taken aback by the company's disregard for his personal safety.

"To me, they don't think about your physical (health); you can actually hurt yourself," he said. "I think they're more worried about production than their people."

A half-dozen current and former employees, all with previous meatpacking experience, said they have never worked at a plant with such inadequate training.

After three weeks on the job, Rene Lopez sat near the plant's entrance waiting to join Howard on the trip home. Lopez, 37, said supervisors yelled at workers who butchered the meat for not keeping up with the pace of the production line. He said the task proved impossible, with so few workers and so little training.

Lopez, who speaks only Spanish, said new workers were never trained on how to properly cut meat, or even how to sharpen a knife.

"Without proper training, how can we keep up with production?" he said.

Many complaints, workers said, center on sales pitches made by employment agencies in Texas.

Recruiters promised monthly rent around $120, wages significantly higher than $10 an hour and other perks, workers said.

Landlords in town say they never made such offers.

Abrahams, the Agriprocessors spokesman, said the company is looking into the allegations.

"We have specifically sought out labor companies with reputations for honesty and integrity," he said.

Another worker, Jose Quintanilla, said he planned to stay, even though he considers substandard working and living conditions.

"If I lose this job, how the hell am I going to get home?" he said.

5

 Jun 29, 2008 at 08:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Maybe you should take of your yarmulke, shave your beard, and do exactly what the GOYIM do, so they wouldn't say anything, and you'll be safe..

6

 Jun 29, 2008 at 09:11 PM Tina Says:

let them work somewhere else if they dont like the conditions. Or let them open there own meat manufacturing plant

7

 Jun 29, 2008 at 09:16 PM anonymous Says:

This is sikening already. It is so obviuos that the union and other hate mongers are out there to get Rubashkin.


IF Rubashkin was smart he would teach them a lesson by closing it's doors and opening in a different state. If Rubashkin would leave iowa they wouldbeg him to come back and then Rubashkin can tell them where to go.


Korns bakery had similar problems and credit to Korns bakery they never gave in and even closed many times just to to show the unions they could go to hell.

8

 Jun 29, 2008 at 09:17 PM Meatloaf Says:

Don't worry Tina, they ARE choosing to work somewhere else. Agriprocessors can't keep workers in the plant. Despite Lubinsky's lies. the plant is working at about 20% of pre-raid levels in meat production, and 30$ in chicken (whole birds only).

9

 Jun 29, 2008 at 11:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Meatloaf, you are definitely all filler & no protein!!

There are PLENTY of chickens, inc. 1/4, 1/8, wings, legs, tops, etc etc & all cuts of meat...where do YOU shop? There's no shortage. The only difference I saw was when I cleaned my chickens they had fewer feathers, which is just fine by me!!

10

 Jun 30, 2008 at 01:22 AM Mark Levin Says:

This smells like such a union shmay drei! The guy came to little fardorbina Postville for a job.

That to me smells like what comes out of the back end of a BULL!

Read into it folks. Remember, Agri has been trying to keep the union out for years and this is union payback. I hope the leader meets Jimmy Hoffa in the Giants Stadium endzone! Which reminds me, will they move the body to the new stadium?

11

 Jun 30, 2008 at 06:27 AM Anonymous Says:

" Maybe you should take of your yarmulke, shave your beard, and do exactly what the GOYIM do, so they wouldn't say anything, and you'll be safe.."

Are you saying that Jewish men who choose not to have beards (I know many -- including a lot of Orthodox) are sellouts, traitors and cowards? Feh!

12

 Jun 30, 2008 at 07:56 AM Greatly offended Says:

Anonymous Says:
Maybe you should take of your yarmulke, shave your beard, and do exactly what the GOYIM do, so they wouldn't say anything, and you'll be safe..
06-29-2008 - 8:41 PM
****************************
SO - CREATING A CHILLUL HASHEM IS OK AS LONG AS YOU HAVE YOUR RUBASHKIN MEAT.
let me put it a different way. In order to have Rubashkin meats, you must have a chillul Hashem take place. Whether you like it or not, that is what is happening, so far.

13

 Jun 30, 2008 at 11:09 AM Anonymous Says:

Tell those that are not happy to find another job,, this is America,,,,,

14

 Jun 30, 2008 at 11:19 AM Meatloaf Says:

I know, lets blame everything on the unions, ... or maybe its anti-Semitism, or maybe its people who are jealous of Rubashkin's success.
The problem is our own failure to police ourselves, and our willingness to turn a blind eye to the CHILLUL HASHEM that took place.

15

 Jun 30, 2008 at 12:12 PM Anonymous Says:

These Rubashkin bashers are pathetic and doing all
they can to bad mouth him and try to cause his demise.
It won't work - they will do whatever adjustments they need to satisfy all regulations and will come out stronger than ever. And all you haters
and malshinim can go eat crow. You are more than welcome to take your business elsewhere. This is a free country and everyone has choices.
However, you may have to answer to higher authorities for your devious efforts in trying to destroy Rubashkin.
I would rather give din v'cheshbon for having eaten Rubashkin meat anytime over the kinds of
aveiros that these mashchisim will have to answer for. That's poshut.

16

 Jun 30, 2008 at 12:31 PM anonymous Says:

Anonymous Says:
Tell those that are not happy to find another job,, this is America,,,,,
06-30-2008 - 11:09 AM
***************************************
How will finding another job stop the chillul Hashem??????

17

 Jun 30, 2008 at 02:48 PM anonymous Says:

Anonymous Says:
To all those that are screaming CHILLUL HASHEM
I don't think that most non antisemitic goyim are batting an eye at these accusations as this is more or less standard procedure at these kinds of meat plants
****************************************
The pity of it is that you are serious in your justifications. In fact, you can justify almost any aveira that way.
We all heard about the cleaning lady that gets paid under the table. MOst Yidden can't afford one. if you can, then you probably do other stuff under the table. Aveira Goreres Aveira. And you are proud of it.

I have seen written here that there is an agenda against Rubashkin. Not true. There is an agenda against sloppy ownershiip of a $100 million dollar business that makes other Jews look bad.

Is part of doing business to spit on everyone else? It appears so, after reading some of the blogs. PLease show me that if you claim to be frum, that it is frumkeit in religion AND business.

18

 Jun 30, 2008 at 04:35 PM Mark Levin Says:

Why are all you people believing the loshon hora in this story?? Just because its in print DOES NOT MEAN ITS TRUE OR TOTALLY ACCURATE!!

19

 Jun 30, 2008 at 05:18 PM lyda lyda Says:

Mark Levin Says:
Why are all you people believing the loshon hora in this story?? Just because its in print DOES NOT MEAN ITS TRUE OR TOTALLY ACCURATE!!
06-30-2008 - 4:35 PM
=============================================
Right on Mr levin .
Which means of course that we shouldnt believe u either as your comments are printed ttoo.

20

 Jun 30, 2008 at 06:57 PM anonymous Says:

Mark Levin Says:
Why are all you people believing the loshon hora in this story?? Just because its in print DOES NOT MEAN ITS TRUE OR TOTALLY ACCURATE!!
06-30-2008 - 4:35 PM
*****************************************
Whom are you refering to when you say 'all'?
I happen to partially agree with you. Look at the next quote

"Agriprocessors spokesman Chaim Abrahams said the company took steps last week to ensure it complies with all state and federal laws. On Thursday and Friday, he said, a workplace safety compliance expert toured the facility to review its practices."

Yes, it might be Lashon Hara to say and believe that the company took steps last week to ensure it complies with all state and federal laws.
Who was the workplace safety compliance expert? Will Agri post the report? Was Chaim Abrahams the expert? Or is it a lie that anyone showed up in the first place?

21

 Jun 30, 2008 at 07:02 PM anonymous Says:

Anonymous Says:
"These Rubashkin bashers are pathetic and doing all they can to bad mouth him and try to cause his demise. "
/////////////////////////////////
No one wants his demise. Everyone just wants the Rubashkins to play fair, like Alle Processing, International, 999, Abeles and Heymann.

These are companies that have been in business just as long, if not longer and do not have newspaper articles written about them daily.. No one is jealous of them and they are all sucessful businessmen.

22

 Jun 30, 2008 at 10:03 PM Meatloaf Says:

"Agriprocessors spokesman Chaim Abrahams said the company took steps last week to ensure it complies with all state and federal laws. On Thursday and Friday, he said, a workplace safety compliance expert toured the facility to review its practices."

Why hire a "safety compliance expert" when OSHA will conduct a safety audit of the plant for free? You don't need to hire an outside expert, all you have to do is comply with the law.

23

 Jun 30, 2008 at 11:14 PM fetchi spitz Says:

non of the company mentioned included alle owens a plant and for sure not with close to 1000 employees so looks you not familiar with the meat line take the next subject please...

24

 Jul 01, 2008 at 06:14 AM anonymous Says:

fetchi spitz Says:
non of the company mentioned included alle owens a plant and for sure not with close to 1000 employees so looks you not familiar with the meat line take the next subject please...
***************************
I have no idea what you are trying to say.

All the companies mentioned have meat plants where they cut up meat. All the plants mentioned have shechita. Have you seen any videos of those plants? There are none. There were no problems with the shechita. It was not done in a sloppy, haphazard way and the treachea was not ripped out with a meat hook like in the Rubashkin plant. The shochet does not kick blood back in the face of the behaima like in the Rubashkin plant.

Are you familiar with the meat line? I wait to hear more of your expertise.

25

 Jul 01, 2008 at 11:38 AM fetchi spitz Says:

nobody referred now to the shcotim that's petta agenda only to employees which only agri has own employees in this kind of numbers
and by the way the behima kicks the blood on shocet not the opposite way you can try it out....

26

 Jul 01, 2008 at 01:20 PM anonymous Says:

fetchi spitz Says:
nobody referred now to the shcotim that's petta agenda only to employees which only agri has own employees in this kind of numbers
******************************
Are you saying that it is too many people to handle? The law is the same for small employers and big employers. If you have more employees, them you must have more capable supervisors.

All the plants that do a Kosher Shechita do not have the same problems taht Rubashkin has. Care to enlighten us?




and by the way the behima kicks the blood on shocet not the opposite way you can try it out....
*********************************
Too bad you did not see the PETA video where the shoichet kicked blood at the animal. Tzaar Baalei Chayim at it's very worst.

27

 Jul 01, 2008 at 03:00 PM jj Says:

Mark Levin Says:
This smells like such a union shmay drei! The guy came to little fardorbina Postville for a job.

That to me smells like what comes out of the back end of a BULL!

Read into it folks. Remember, Agri has been trying to keep the union out for years and this is union payback. I hope the leader meets Jimmy Hoffa in the Giants Stadium endzone! Which reminds me, will they move the body to the new stadium?
06-30-2008 - 1:22 AM
================================================
MR LEVIN DONT BELIEVE EVERYTHING U READ!!

28

 Jul 02, 2008 at 12:22 PM wertsaingelt Says:

One of the Jewish Papaers (I think, the Jewish Herald) recently published an interview with Mr. Rubaschkin, the owner of Agri.
Mr. Rubaschkin correctly stated that he hires folks with 'papers' and pays on the books, all legally. If they are illegals and the papers are forged then let the Immigration Deptmt. handle that. It's not his concern to check papers for their legality, just as it's not the Immigration Deptmt's concern to sell meat. The article was long and detailed and basically telling his side of the story; which I do agree to.
Why bash him? Because he has a large and successful business?
He even mentioned in the article that he provides the workers with certain additional benefits (not required by law).
Does anyone here have a 'Latino' worker or cleaning lady? Do you check their IDs for legality and report their wages? let's get serious for a moment and admit the truth. Without those Latino workers many pizza stores, groceries and many many other businesses around the country would grind to a halt.
You'll always find dissatisfied workers that will be unhappy no matter what you do for them.
We hired once a Latino househelp who just wanted to eat and not work. She took on Friday the Shabbos Challah that we prepared and cut herself a nice slice from it. That was in the first week she worked there. She complained that "mucho trabaho and no comidas" (lots of work and no food). Well, does every job come with a major meal allowance?
Enough said.

29

 Jul 02, 2008 at 01:32 PM jj Says:

To 1222 pm
Apparently you didnt do your home work . But just for the record, the social security administration sent rubashkin many, many letters regarding a whole slew of social security numbers that were coming from the workers which wwere deemed fake or non existant.. Do you still feel that rubashkin had the right to continue paying these workeres with these false ss numbers??

30

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