Meat Plant Raid Nets Child Labor Charges

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By Grace Lavigne

The Iowa attorney general is considering whether to file criminal charges against the owners of the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse for child labor law violations uncovered as the result of a massive immigration raid there in May.

Agriprocessors, in Postville, Iowa, could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines as a result of 57 cases of alleged labor law violations uncovered by the Iowa Labor Commissioner's Office.

Agriprocessors was the site of a massive federal raid in May that resulted in the detention of nearly 400 employees, including 12 juveniles, in connection with possible violations of immigration-related labor laws. This summer, claims emerged that underage workers were employed at the plant.

An investigation by the state indicated that at least 57 juveniles, ranging from ages 14 to 17, have worked illegally in the plant. Investigators found evidence of multiple labor-law violations in each of those 57 cases, according to The Des Moines Register.

The alleged violations include minors working in prohibited occupations, exceeding the allowable hours for working, being exposed to hazardous chemicals and working with prohibited tools.

Iowa's child labor laws require permits for 14- and 15-year-olds and recommend certificates of age for teens ages 16 and 17, according to the Iowa Division of Labor Services. The laws also specify that 14- and 15-year-old teens may work four hours per day on school days and up to 28 hours per week during the school year.

In addition, Iowa child labor laws dictate that working at "slaughtering, meatpacking establishments or rendering plants" is too dangerous for teens.

Iowa's labor department has asked the attorney general to file criminal charges, which are being considered, according to a spokesman there.

Company spokesman Menachem Lubinsky said Agriprocessors executives were unaware that some of their employees were underage. He said the company cooperated with the investigation, according to The Des Moines Register.

A spokeswoman for Iowa Workforce Development , a state agency, told The Register that the state investigation uncovered evidence that company officials might have been aware that children were working illegally in the facility.

Child-labor violations are prosecuted as criminal offenses in Iowa. Defendants in such cases are the employing corporations, not the individual executives who may have been responsible for the alleged wrongdoing, the development office said. The violations are misdemeanors, with each carrying a fine of roughly $50 a day.


  • Anonymous

    Agriprocessors meat was always green by the time it got to AZ anyway! These people are SHYSTERS. They give honest Jews (and Chabad Lubavitch) a really bad name.

    You can’t say that about Alle Processing (the Satmar Meat Plant back east) who’s meat is always fresh. Sure the the Satmars bicker amongst themselves, often dragging their squables into US courts, but they’re hardly criminals like these people. DONT BY THE FOLLOWING MEATS: Rubashkins, Davids Kosher, Iowa’s Best… they are all Agriprocessors. Buying these meats only vindicates these criminal acts!

    Rabashkins may be able to weasel past the US Government, but they will never be able to weasel past the pearly gates in he “world to come” (unless they repent and make serious restitution)….

    All of this this goes to prove that in the absense of their late Rebbe MM Schneerson, Chabad Lubavitch lacks decent honest leadership in 2008.

  • john

    We have been driving across the country visiting various immigration hotspots. We were just in Postville on Saturday talking with workers and the local priest. Read our write up here:

    Video coming soon.