Close this search box.

New Developments: Child Labor Violations Announced at Agriprocessors; Rubashkin Responds

rubashkin1.gifBelow is the Associated Press report, and under it is a statement released by Agriprocessors a short while ago: 

Associated Press Report: The Iowa Labor Commissioner’s Office announced today that it has uncovered dozens of child labor violations at the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Postville.

Labor officials say their investigation, which spanned several months, had uncovered 57 cases of child labor law violations.

The types of violations included minors working in prohibited occupations, exceeding allowable hours to work youth and working with prohibited tools

Iowa Labor Commissioner Dave Neil says the investigation brings to light egregious violations of virtually every aspect of the state’s child labor laws.

The attorney general’s office says it could not comment on what penalties are possible. State officials declined to release details on how many children may be involved or their ages.

Statement by Agriprocessors: Postville, Iowa 5:00 p.m. August 5, 2008 – Agriprocessors is at a loss to understand the Iowa Labor Commissioner’s referral and press release of today on the issue of alleged child labor at Agriprocessors.  As the government knows, it is Agriprocessors’ policy not to hire underage workers, and to terminate any employees who are determined to be under 18 years of age.  In fact, in 2007, Agriprocessors terminated four employees whom it determined were underage and had provided false documents in order to obtain employment. 

The Company has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, providing documents and opening its plant and its records to government inspection.  In early 2008, government inspectors came to the Postville plant, looked for underage workers, identified two youthful looking employees for further investigation, investigated their background and ultimately allowed the employees to return to work.  At no time did the government identify to the company any violations. 

When the government told Agriprocessors in April 2008 that it knew that underage employees were working at the Postville plant, Agriprocessors repeatedly requested that the government identify those workers so that the company could terminate them.  The Iowa Labor Commissioner’s Office refused.  As a result of the government’s decision, apparently those children may have continued to work at the plant and presumably at least some were arrested in the May 12 ICE enforcement action. 

The government now has seen fit to issue a press release alleging child labor law violations.  The government’s press release does not state that the company knowingly hired underage workers.  The company asks the public to keep an open mind and wait for the evidence before making any judgments about these, or any other, allegations.


(YWN Desk – NYC)

34 Responses

  1. You just love this stuff, don’t you? As long as it’s not your sect, it’s not loshon h’ra. Hopefully, people will soon start to see right through your perverse thinking.

  2. An anti-semite is an anti-semite is an anti-semite!
    What can one expect from goyim who have an axe to grind!
    The Iowa Labor Commission should be investigated for anti-semitism!
    Shame on them!

  3. I really dont believe this. Someone (READ: UNIONS) are out to get them. Time to sue the union for harrasment and get rid of the slime once and for all!

  4. the funny thing is if this would happen in israel everyone would be praising the govt n bashing the frum yidden

  5. of course its all unions and guess what the unions payoff the government officials and in turn they do the dirty work for them. Agri wasnt hiring union workers so they are trying to shut them down, i wouldnt be supprised if it was the unions who put peta against them 2years ago, that didnt work so now this

  6. If children are working there ,isn’t it obvious? Can’t they see if they are children or grownups? Adults look different than kids.

  7. Everyone is so quick to yell “antisemite!”

    Let’s review the facts, as presented by Agriprocessors’ own statement:

    1) The Iowa Labor Commission informed them that they have underage workers there.
    2) Agriprocessors said “tell us who they are, and we’ll fire them.”
    3) Agriprocessors waited quietly by the phone for a response, but didn’t get one.

    What was step (4)? Did Agriprocessors:
    a) Launch an investigation of their own to find out who is underage?
    b) Ignore the situation, thinking “well, I asked a question in return, and they didn’t get back to me, so it’s not my problem.” ?

    By their own admission, Agriprocessors was informed of underage workers and did nothing about it. They should have been thankful that the first notice was just a notice, and not something more severe. And they should have taken ACTION. When a nightclub or bar is busted for serving alcohol to minors, the excuse “we didn’t know” or “their ID looked real” or “you should have told us who was underage!” is NOT VALID.

  8. To #7 …. Even if everybody knows something its still not permitted to tell L”H if the reason is to spread it further or if the person maks it worse than it is then its for sure L”H… so we have to be very careful not to rely on these heteirim.

  9. #9:

    Do you think that it’s so easy to investigate who is a minor. Agni did the right thing and requested ID, if it was false it’s not there problem. Let me ask you, how do you investigate who is a minor ? I think the way to investigate is by requesting ID. Is there any Hi Tech system that can recognize age? or maybe they should have spent tens of thousands of dollars and order an investigation company to go to Mexico and investigate.

    To all Yeshiva World readers:

    I’m sure that #9 is part of the stupid union that conducts this DIRT campaign.


  10. #11:

    If the government can figure out that you’re hiring underage workers, you should be able to as well.

    Even low level bar bouncers are trained to spot fake IDs, and do it well. I would imagine that if Agriprocessors was told that they have underage workers, a more thorough investigation would have yielded some culprits instead of just ignoring the situation. Of course, that also might expose other illegal workers with fake IDs – that wouldn’t be good.

    Oh, and you’re right – I’m a part of the “stupid union.” Good call. More likely I’m a concerned Yid who is not afraid to call out an injustice when he sees one.

  11. #8
    When school starts again go up Bennett and look at the Mesivta boys – some of the nearly 18 year olds look like bar mitzvah boys, some of the 9th or 10th graders look like 18 year olds. You cant go by looks – if someone has papers, just like a fake id, you dont know for sure! When I started teaching, the kids thought I was a new kid in the class!

  12. Mark levin, you are only right because of what happened in may with the illegal immigrants, but tsgssdk tou are 1,000% percent wrong they are doing this b/c Rubashkin(no offense) did something really dumb, by hiring the minors.

  13. mark levin you are only right b/c of what happened in may, with the illegal immigrants, so they are keeping an eye on them so they don’t do it again. but tsgssdk you are wrong. They are not acting anti-semitic they are just keeping an eye on them and now they did something wrong again.(No offense to rubashkin but what were they thinking, I understand that one or two people can have fake I.D.’s but not the amount of underage people it seems like. It is not possible to get faked out by that many people, if you do that is just sad.)

  14. #9 you sound very patronizing (waited quietly by the phone) What should they have done fired everyone who looks young.? And they were presented documents.
    I think the dep’t of labor is guilty of harrasment. Especially that they issued a press release instead of taking it to court. ( and why didn’t they coopersate with Agri’s investigation)I know if a case where the DA was sued for malicious behavior.

  15. #9 Justajew:
    Why dont you take a hint from your name and act like one?

    Its obvious that you are blinded by your (can I say hatred?) kleyn kepeldikayt when it comes to this.

    If the ID looked real, I think Rubashkin is in the clear. Why dont you think of it this way, the gov called and did not give out the info of who is a minor and Rubashkin thought that they will go away?? I think NOT.

    Once the gov got involved Rubashkin tried to clean up its act, if they did not get rid of minors at that point, its because they did not know who the minors are.

  16. #8 proud of KAJ WH TIDE:
    Wow you are on a roll. I can always count on you for the first negative comment on every Rubashkin story.
    Can I guess that it has something to do with some of your “lantslayt” out of work now?

    As to your comment, its true that you can tell the difference between an 8 year old and 18 year old, but not always between a 15 & 18 year old.

  17. The bottom line is that a very important supplier of kosher meat and poultry cannot continue providing the product normally. Which means that whatever meat is available will become unaffordable to many families.

  18. # 7 maybe your right that it’s not L.H.,but there definitely is a lack of sensitivity. When it comes to any wrongdoings of Jews that aren’t part of our camp, there seems to be some excitement about reporting it. That’s where the real anti-semitism is.

  19. It seems as in the past that most of the comments are used to attack other reader’s opinions and thoughts without respect not to mention some of them seem to be “poskin.”

    Why don’t you just stay on point and state your opinion regardless if other comments are different from your owns there is just so much hate in many of the comments being posted.

  20. BS”D

    What unfortunately happens in a firm where the owners have to deal with finding menial labor is that they don’t want to get their hands dirty, nor do they know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, so they find someone from a similar background to do the dirty work.

    Then, what happens is that whoever is put in charge, in this case the 2 Agri supervisors who were arrested, often do things the way they are done on the streets, not caring that their bosses want to run an honest operation.

    These managers take payments for jobs, assist in forging documents etc so that they can augment their usually quite ample salaries and keep their street cred.

    I saw this myself years ago when I worked for a real estate firm (not frum, but relatively above board) that had properties in bad areas and needed superintendents and work crews. The property managers were taking bribes for supers’ jobs, and they were filling out invoices for the largely illiterate work crews, adding a few percent for their own pockets as they then cashed the checks for their men. And all kinds of games were played with immigration rules; people were paid in cash or with checks made out to legal relatives.

    The owners of the firm hardly understood the culture they were dealing with and so long as repairs were done so that they could collect the rents and the buildings were clean and saleable, they did not care. All they could do was make sure that expenses did not get out of hand because of the shtick.

    Rubashkin is of course ultimately liable; hopefully they can make an agreement, pay fines, agree to monitoring and move on – be it to a cleaned up operation in the US or to South America where there is no PETA and no union agitation.

    However, if the Mafia run union did not have its sights on Agri, none of this would have come to light because it happens at every meatpacking plant and every plant that relies on menial labor in the US. The answer is probably a guest worker program (or full automation/robotics but that is a while off).

  21. #9 according to the law, employer’s are not spossed to check the worker’s document’s if a employee gives you his s.s you just have to take and be quiet even if you have a chashash that the guy is illegal.

    This is another crap from the Unions,we have to stop them for our survival. In N.Y. there is a heimesha Union that works for the company not the worker’s,that saves the kosher company,s cause there is nobody to fight against them

  22. Once the government gets on your case, there is no end to the harrassment you will suffer.

    This was all triggered by a MeSira from the Reform Rabbis and their allies in the Conservative movement. They are jealous of the growth of the Orthodox community in America, while they are declining, so they are looking for faults that they can criticise to make themselves feel better.

    Shame on them!

  23. #16

    It’s very possible that the Dept of Labor was out to “get” Agriprocessors and make an example of them. Likely, even.

    That doesn’t excuse the behavior of Agri – and when you have 13-year-olds working in your factory, saying “we checked their IDs” is not an excuse. In light of the child labor AND the hundreds of illegal immigrant workers, do you think possibly that Agri was kind of lax in the whole ID department?

  24. #11 Justajew.

    You yell too loudly about injustice. Remember this is not neccesarily a moral issue. 17 year olds are permitted to work in almost every country in the world. The kid wants to. The parents want him to. I am not advocating child labor as in the long run these protections are needed as abuses of minors has accured to require their passage. But injustice is not the appropriate word to define the issue

  25. The Department of Labor in Iowa can’t help,”cutting its nose to spite its face.” When the Federal investigation first began they said that Agriproccesors was cooperating and so did the Dept of Labor…and now this. Its too ridiculous. With all the people out of work, Agriproccesors must be one of Iowa’s largest employers. I’m not saying that they are “lily white” but the great “kopmenchen” don’t know where to draw the line.

  26. justajew-

    Not sure what you mean by ‘By their own admission, Agriprocessors was informed of underage workers and did nothing about it.’?

    Re-read the article >.

  27. post 31 – not sure why my last post was should read:

    re-read the article ‘In fact, in 2007, Agriprocessors terminated four employees whom it determined were underage and had provided false documents in order to obtain employment. ‘

    So the facts are, they did do something about it.

  28. #31 –

    I did re-read it. Here’s the Agriprocessors quote:

    “When the government told Agriprocessors in April 2008 that it knew that underage employees were working at the Postville plant, Agriprocessors repeatedly requested that the government identify those workers so that the company could terminate them. The Iowa Labor Commissioner’s Office refused.”

    AGAIN, here is what they themselves are stating:
    1) The Labor Union informed Agri of underage workers
    2) Agri asked for more specific info
    3) Agri did not get the info, and chose to not do anything on their own.

    They had 13-year-old workers there. They were informed of this by the labor union. They should have launched a new investigation, asked for new records of those who looked underage, etc. Instead they did NOTHING, and relied on point (2) above as an excuse.

    You need to understand this point: if you are the employer, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to weed out underage and illegal workers. You cannot blame someone else for not giving you more information. They were lucky enough to get a notice in early 2008 – and they blew their chance to fix the problem.

  29. What’s wrong with minors working? If the minor wants so hard to work that he gives a fake ID, WHY DOES IT BOTHER YOU? Where’s this “injustice” you’re so worked up about? Even if they knew he was underage, I don’t understand why you’re so upset about it. Kol sheken when he gave a fake ID, and claimed to be 18. You say they should have launched an investigation? Why should they? Why should they harass all the workers, and spend time and money, to find alleged underage workers that the government says exist? If they government knew they existed, why didn’t they give the names? If they weren’t so concerned as to give the names, why should Agri make the effort to track these alleged people down? But above all, what’s your problem in the first place? Even if they had deliberately broken the law, why should any of us care? You’re not the government, after all.

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts