Thursday, August 14, 2008
"How can you sit at your table and eat a product packaged by a pregnant woman has been standing on her feet all day?" asked Rabbi Morris Allen of Minnesota. He is developing a certification program that aims to protect workers and the environment in the kosher industry. Interest in Allen's "hekhsher tzedek," or "certificate of righteousness," has ballooned since a May 12 immigration raid at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa. . . .
The "hekhsher tzedek" would be awarded to companies that pay fair wages, ensure workplace safety, follow government environmental rules and treat animals humanely, among other criteria. The program, which could begin as soon as next year, would be separate from the traditional certification process that measures compliance with Jewish dietary law. A company that fails to obtain a "hekhsher tzedek" could still get its food certified as kosher.
As the story notes, the certificate is not universally supported by Jewish groups. However, this is a great example of variety of ways in which an employer can be pressured to provide better working conditions for its workers.
Hat Tip: Dennis Walsh