Friday, May 26, 2006

Kosher meat packer accused of worker abuse

The largest kosher meat packing plant in the United States has been accused of paying workers low wages, union busting and bad working conditions.
While top officials at AgriProcessors in Postville, Iowa, deny the allegations, The Forward, a New York newspaper, reports testimony from workers and scholars who looked into them tell a different story.
Some claim they get barely more than $6 an hour with little training and skimpy break time to produce the beef and chicken sold under the Aaron's Best brand. And the burgeoning numbers of immigrant workers say they get treated worst.
Plant manager Sholom Rubashkin told the newspaper working conditions are legal and allegations like bribery and threats of firing or deportation are untrue.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has written up AgriProcessors on six violations so far this year, which makes up more than half of all violations served to meatpacking plants in the state, the Forward reported.
Mark Grey, the director of the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration, said the ultra-observant, Hasidic Jewish owners don't value non-Jewish workers.
Grey told the Forward, "The bottom line here is that I'm not sure these devout Jews are using Jewish ethics to treat their workers."


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