Wednesday, September 10, 2008
No not an immigration issue (see here for more on that). This time, it's been announced that the Postville plant has also been accused of violating child labor laws. The Iowa Attorney General has just charged the plant with thousands of misdemeanors. From the AP:
The owner and managers of the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant were charged Tuesday with more than 9,000 misdemeanors alleging that they hired minors and in some cases had children younger than 16 handle dangerous equipment such as circular saws, meat grinders and power shears.
They are the first criminal charges against operators of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, where nearly 400 illegal immigrants working at the facility were arrested in May in one of the largest single-site immigration raids in U.S. history.
The complaint filed by the Iowa attorney general's office said the violations involved 32 illegal immigrant children under 18, including seven who were younger than 16. Aside from handling dangerous equipment, the complaint also says that children were exposed to dangerous chemicals such as chlorine solutions and dry ice. . . .
Charged are the company itself, plant owner Abraham Aaron Rubashkin, former plant manager Sholom Rubashkin, human resources manager Elizabeth Billmeyer, and Laura Althouse and Karina Freund, management employees in the company's human resources division. Each defendant faces 9,311 individual counts -- one for each day a particular violation is alleged for each worker. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said at a news conference on Tuesday that he would not elaborate on what evidence led to the indictment. . . . The charges are simple misdemeanors, each carrying a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a fine of $65 to $625.
I keep wondering when the troubles at Agriprocessors will stop, but they never do. Makes you wonder what's going on at other plants . . . .
Hat Tip: Dennis Walsh