Postvile Becoming ‘Almost a Ghost Town’

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rubashkin3.gif(The Gazette) The flame under this ethnic melting pot is flickering.

As production falls at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant, the immigrants who came to work there are hitting the road.

The plant has not processed beef in about two weeks, and shifts in the chicken and turkey departments have been cut back to eight hours a day.

All but about 25 of the nearly 200 workers from the island nation of Palau had left town as of yesterday, said Joanne Obak, 29, of Koror, Palau.

“It’s because a lot have been laid off in the beef kill and because those who still have jobs can’t make it on eight hours a day,” she said.

Most of the remaining Palauan workers “are not doing well” and will be leaving soon, said Obak, who herself plans to leave town Saturday. “I came for a job, but it’s time to move on,” she said.

Agriprocessors spokesman Chaim Abrahams said yesterday that the company has about 200 employees spread across all departments — down from about 900 before the May 12 immigration raid that started the company’s downward spiral. The company is not hiring except to replace key personnel, he said.

Abrahams said the company is working with the court, attorneys and investors to restructure after filing for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy law.

“We’re working hard to put it together, and we’re moving forward,” he said.

Besides its more than $50 million in debt, Agriprocessors’ former CEO, Sholom Rubashkin, was recently charged with conspiring to hire illegal immigrants, and the company was fined nearly $10 million for state labor violations. It also faces more than 9,000 counts of child labor law violations.

“I don’t see any way they can continue to operate much longer,” said Jeff Abbas, manager of KPVL, the local radio station.

Abbas said buses arrived yesterday to take away the last of the Agriprocessors workers hired by Jacobson Staffing and One Force Staffing, firms retained by Agriprocessors to recruit workers.

With the social and economic dislocation that has occurred since the raid, “this town is far worse off now than when Agriprocessors came to town” more than 20 years ago, Abbas said.

Postville Mayor Robert Penrod said he has no special insights into Agriprocessors’ future in the town. Penrod acknowledged that retail sales have declined with the exodus of workers but said that could be attributed in part to the general economic downturn.

“Everybody is hoping that new management can turn the company around in a hurry,” Penrod said.

One of the town’s leading residential rental companies, GAL Investments, has about 100 vacancies among its approximately 150 residential rental units in Postville, according to company bookkeeper Nina Taylor.

The company lost 12 renters since Tuesday, Taylor said yesterday.

“Compared with what it was before the raid, Postville is almost a ghost town,” she said.

Alliant Energy will not cut off power to 330 Postville-area customers behind in their payments until at least next week, company spokesman Ryan Stensland said. Many of the customers are financially troubled employees or former employees of Agriprocessors.

Stensland said Alliant agreed Tuesday to a request by the Iowa Utilities Board to suspend disconnections in Postville for one week. The company will revisit the decision next week, he said.

(Source: The Gazette)


9 COMMENTS

  1. “With the social and economic dislocation that has occurred since the raid, “this town is far worse off now than when Agriprocessors came to town” more than 20 years ago, Abbas said.

    Those in Postville who did not like Agri being there, can now have the ghost town all to themselves. They can also enjoy the general economic down slide that occurs when a small town loses a major employer.

    Those who “won” are really ending up the biggest losers.

  2. Under normal conditions it would be likely that someone would take the facility and get it running, but nationally (globally, among Jews and Goyim alike) the demand for meat is falling rapidly due to the economic downturn, so existing plants will pick up the slack.

  3. I find it very hard to believe that this was the only company involved in illegal aliens. I also believe that we should first ask our Rabbonim before we label anyone.

  4. THIS WAS A TARGETED HIT JOB AGAINST THE JEWISH COMMUNITY.

    UNFORTUNATELY, NONE OF YOU OUT THERE REALIZE YOU ARE BEING TARGETED.

    EVERY MEAT PACKER IN THE U.S. EMPLOYS ILLEGAL ALIENS. THERE ARE 20-30 MILLION OF THEM IN THE COUNTRY.

    ASK YOURSELF: WHY WAS RUBASHKIN, A RELATIVELY-SMALL MEATPACKER, PICKED–NOT HORMEL OR ONE OF THE OTHERS?

  5. actually they are targeting all the meat packers —
    however YESHIVA WORLD NEWS doesn’t cover the goyish world butg if you read some goyish media, you’ll realize that it is Hispanics who are being targetted, not Jews. Rubashkin’s crime was hiring them. They’re crime was being a bit short, a bit dark, talking a language other than English, and working too hard (makes the rest of Americans look bad) in order to support their families (frankly, I think these are the sorts of people America needs, but the politicians think otherwise).

    Given the unavailability of Americans willing to do har work, it would be easier to set up the plant in Mexico since NAFTA facilitates moving jobs to places where they are more welcome.

  6. Sad story! The Rubashkins built a city besides their empire of chesed and tzedaka. reb Shalom Mortcha, as his friends know him, was a childhood friend of mine and even as a child he had a phenominal gutte hartz and always cared for the underdog. His family owned take-out on 13th Ave., Crown’s, was legendary even then for feeding the hungry at no cost! One big Gezeira! Who can understand?
    They built the city of Postville with a cheder and yeshiva for the families who were their employees and many ehrliche Yidden were employed there! Voss Vill G-t? Tay-ku!

  7. #7, akuperma.

    How can you say it is the Hispanics being targeted? What are the legal consequences to illegitimate aliens (Mexicans)?

    Of course this is targeted against Jews. If law enforcement was so inclined, they could go down most main streets in America and get all the Mexicans here illegally.

    Another thought is why IS it a crime to hire illegals when our schools educate them, hospitals administer health care to them, social services house them, charitable organizations collect for them even though they own cars and buy at Walmart, as well as even special representatives of banks coming to offer them bank accounts, among many other violations of written immigration law?

    Rubashkin got picked on, but they found something to pick on them about, unfortunately.