Tuesday, September 9, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: AGRIPROCESSOR´S EMPLOYERS FINALLY CHARGED!!!!

Agriprocessor´s Slaughterhouse charged with using child labor
BREAKING NEWS from CNN:
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The owner and managers of the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant were charged Tuesday with more than 9,000 misdemeanors alleging child labor law violations. They're accused of hiring minors and, in some cases, having children younger than 16 handle dangerous equipment such as circular saws, meat grinders and power shears. The allegations 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 age 18, including seven who were younger than 16. The complaint says in addition to handling dangerous equipment, the children were exposed to hazardous chemicals such as chlorine solutions and dry ice. The attorney general's office said the violations occurred from September 9, 2007, to May 12, 2008, when the plant was raided by federal immigration agents. Charged are the company itself, Agriprocessors Inc.; 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. (Yes!!)
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.
"All of the named individual defendants possessed shared knowledge that Agriprocessors employed undocumented aliens. It was likewise shared knowledge among the defendants that many of those workers were minors," the affidavit said. The charges are simple misdemeanors, each carrying a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a fine of $65 to $625.
Miller said the case is the largest of its type he'd handled in his 26 years as attorney general. Chaim Abrams, a manager at the plant, said in a statement that Agriprocessors "vehemently denies" the allegations. He said the underage workers -- not the company -- are to blame. "All of the minors at issue lied about their age in order to gain employment at the company," he said. "At the time of hiring, all of the minors, like all job applicants, presented and signed documents stating that they were over 18. They knew that, if they told the truth about their age, they would not be hired."
Abrams said the state wouldn't be able to back up its case.
"In order to convict, the state is going to have to prove that the defendants willfully violated the child labor laws," he said. " ... The state will not be able to carry this burden of proof. Agriprocessors acted in good faith on the child labor issue. We look forward to our day in court."
Sonia Parras Konrad, an attorney representing more than 20 of the children, said her clients were as young as 14 when they started working at the plant. "We don't need to see any papers to see that someone is a child," she said. "This was not one mistake, two mistakes, three mistakes, but many, many mistakes." Parras Konrad said minors in the plant were treated the same as adults and often worked in the same conditions.
"They were hungry all the time, it was freezing cold or burning hot," Parras Konrad said the children told her.
The attorney general's office said the company encouraged job applicants to submit forged identification documents that were known to contain false information about their resident status, age and identity.
"Each defendant ... hired children, retained the employment of children observed working throughout the plant, and/or participated in efforts to conceal children when federal and state labor department officials inspected that plant," the affidavit said.
The more than 9,000 violations the state alleges fall into five categories: employing a child under age 18 in a meatpacking plant; employing a child under age 18 in an occupation that exposes the child to dangerous or poisonous chemicals; employing a child under age 16 who operated power machinery; employing a child under age 16 who worked during prohibited hours or more hours in a day than permitted by law; and employing a child under 16 who worked more days in a week than permitted by law.
It said the company's records also show that employees were not paid for all overtime worked. Postville resident Dave Hartley, 50, said the allegations were unsettling. "Everything is unsettling because Agri's a huge employer in this town," he said. "So you want to see the town strive and move forward." He said one troubling aspect of the charges is that Postville will again be thrust into the spotlight. "You want things to get back to normal," Hartley said. "I wouldn't say it's turmoil in town, per se, but people are just wondering what's going to happen."

24 comments:

Liquidmicro said...

Make note that it is the 'State' filing the charges and not the Federal Government. It's child labor law violations they are being charged with.

Anonymous said...

I hope those employers are punished to the full extent of the law.

Dee said...

Liquid,
Do you think the charges will hold up?

You always ask what will satisfy me.

In this case, I want the Rubashkins to pay appropriate fines (millions) and I also want the Rubaskins put in Prison for one month. Since they are from New York, Rikers Prison would be appropriate. One month is brief, but it should teach them a lesson for their exploitation of the system and of workers.

The workers have been in prison or Detention since May. One month in Prison is NOT a lot of time but it would teach them a lesson.

I say the same should happen to Billy Howard. Prison Time and Millions in Fines!

Anonymous said...

Dee, I have to say that one month in prison is not enough time for the Rubashkins. I'd like to see them serve years and years in prison. And i'd like to see photos of them in prison posted to the internet daily - to serve as a warning to other employers who hire illegals.

I am a big believer in the deterrent effect of prison.

I'd also like to see the professional families (of all races) that hire undocumented nannies put in to prison as well - to deter other families from hiring the undocumented

I suspect that few of the antis on this site support my point of view. And few of the "pros" on this site support my view.

Dee said...

Anon,
I agree with you.
The key to finally achieving immigration reform is sanctioning and imprisoning the employers.
If this were to happen, we would be forced to fix the broken immigration processes, the quid pro quo of immigration green card abuses, and people could come in legitimately and legally.

The problem is, there never will be serious employer sanctions. This charge is but a token and I doubt the Rubashkins will ever be in prison. I want them to learn an lesson and be treated as an example, but I am not holding my breath.

Also, you must realize everyone knows someone who hires illegal immigrants. It might be your neighbor. It might be the guy who hires the guy who mows your or your neighbors lawns. It might be the guy you hire whose workers fix your roof or plumbing. Why do you think those Day Labor sites are full? You would have to arrest three quarters of the farmers in the country. This also includes most of the meat packing plants, construction companies, builders, manufacturing companies and all who hire the 12 - 15M here. (We are talking the size of the state of New York)

The Arizonian said...

I am a big believer in the deterrent effect of prison

Prison are not a deterrent. I wish they were, but they are not. A brief look at crime rates will indicate this. The US has 2.3 million people in the prison system, not including local jails are detention centers.

Fear of pain or death is a far better deterrent.

patrior said...

Implement e-verify and make it mandatory for the employers to use it in their hiring practices. This will stop them and the illegals from circumventing our labor and immigration laws. If crime is prevented then there will be no reason for punishment.

Liquidmicro said...

I think the state will have a hard time getting any charges to stick against Abraham Aaron Rubashkin simply because he was not in charge of the plant and had very little input into it.

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 will probably be held accountable.

Satisfactions.... years in jail, problem is charges are only misdemeanors, limiting the years in jail. All should be fined accordingly, to include the plant as an Incorporation, which will effect AA Rubashkins profits.

Loss of the kosher guarantee, and allowing the plant to go out of business would be perfect.

Dee said...

Liquid,
If prison is NOT an option then this would work. Same for Billy Howard and ALL exploiting employers!



Liquidmicro said...
Loss of the kosher guarantee, and allowing the plant to go out of business would be perfect.

patriot said...

I don't think any sane person objects to the employers (owners, managers, supervisors and HR personnel) being fined and imprisoned for knowlingly hiring illegal aliens. In fact that is what they would desire as part of ridding ourselves of illegal aliens and making businesses comply with our labor and immigration laws. E-verify should be implemented nationwide and a national I.D. card for all citizens should have to be presented as part of the hiring package.

Liquidmicro said...

I didn't say prison was not an option. The problem with an Incorporation/Corporation is who is the owner?? It is its own entity, ran by officers. Who would be held accountable?? Look to the Corporate Protection Laws.

Smaller businesses which are not Incorporation's/Corporations do have an obvious owner, and in most cases is running the company and making decisions. These guys if caught usually are jailed and fined by the Federal Government and/or State. Charges are easier to make stick in this instance.

Anonymous said...

Let me say that prison may NOT be a deterrent for many career criminals who feel they have nothing to lose by going to prison.

The US is a hellish darwinian place for those who lack education and skills - for those whose only option is minimum wage vs prison prison may not be a deterrent

however, for the high paid professionals, those with household incomes over $100k per year who typically hire illegal nannies, prison is a deterrent.

I believe that putting a few of those folks in to prison for a year or two and making sure that there was adequate publicity for such prison sentences would certainly lead other high income professionals to hire legal nannies instead of illegal ones.

At the end of the day this debate is about fairness. If plenty of affluent white people were going to prison, and the sight of these affluent white folks going to prison was visible on TV each day, then deportation of the undocumented would strike everyone as fair

Antis that hope to rally the country around deporting the illegals are kidding themselves. Then innate sense of fairness of this country won't allow that to happen unless there are affluent anglos going to prison.

I think the antis are not happy to hear this since they know that they don't have the political power to get affluent anglos put in to prison


I speak to people in Arizona - i think the reason the law in Arizona is so popular among moderate middle of the road people is that it BALANCES some very harsh treatment of the illegals with very harsh treatment of employers. Businesses get the death sentence after two violations.

if the antis can't produce a law that visibly and painfully punishes wealthy anglos who break the law, they just aren't going to get what they want.

Alie said...

And yet, Agriprocessors are not "wealthy Anglos," are they?

The point is to punish those who hire illegals, and they are not limited to one ethnic/racial group. How many wealthy legal Hispanics are exploiting poor illegals from any ethnic background?

The Arizonian said...


I speak to people in Arizona - i think the reason the law in Arizona is so popular among moderate middle of the road people is that it BALANCES some very harsh treatment of the illegals with very harsh treatment of employers. Businesses get the death sentence after two violations.


I'll let you guess were I live....

As far as the law is concerned, it does have it's supports, and opponents.

I support the law as it is written. I believe that this further enhances laws already on the books regarding hiring those that are ineligible to work here legally.

The law is quickly becoming a lame duck. It seems to be loosely enforced already, with only one company I have heard of being prosecuted under the law.

There should be literally hundreds of companies here under indictment.

Laws are great, but without people actually reporting violations (which there are plenty) and people there to enforce them (which there are few), the law becomes just pretty words on a piece of paper.

The Arizonian said...

And yet, Agriprocessors are not "wealthy Anglos," are they?

Allie has a point. The Rubashkins are technically Middle-eastern, are they not?

patriot said...

What about all those businesses run by Hispanics mostly small and family owned? You know damn well they are employing their illegal amigos. Bet the pro-illegals like dee wouldn't be screaming so loud for justice if they were raided and the employer got off scott free.

Dee said...

Bingo, you have ALL nailed it. To date we have not seen a significant number of wealthy Anglo employers charged much less imprisoned. The law in AZ went into effect the beginning of last year. The law in OK went into effect mid last year. Yet, not wealthy Anglo employers are imprisoned (charged or found guilty). Yet countless workers were raided by ICE of Arpaio. None of it makes sense!! Why have these laws!!

Arizonian said:
The law is quickly becoming a lame duck. It seems to be loosely enforced already, with only one company I have heard of being prosecuted under the law.

Alie said:
And yet, Agriprocessors are not "wealthy Anglos," are they?

Anon said:
I speak to people in Arizona - i think the reason the law in Arizona is so popular among moderate middle of the road people is that it BALANCES some very harsh treatment of the illegals with very harsh treatment of employers. Businesses get the death sentence after two violations.

patriot said...

That is a flat out lie, dee. I posted many articles for you whereby wealthy anglo employers were fined and or jailed. Why are you making it a race issue about the employer now? What difference does it make what ethnic group an employer is from who is hiring illegal aliens? They should all be prosecuted!

patriot said...

Many of the these HR/supervisors, etc. caught up in these raids were Hispanics themselves. I would be willing to bet that nationwide there are more Hispanic citizens hiring illegal aliens in their businesses than anglos!

Anonymous said...

Uh -

so what ? the big bosses are wealthy white anglos.

The wealthy anglo bosses need to go to prison so they can be sodomized by big beefy cellmates

When the other big wealthy anglos read in barrons and the wall street journal about wealthy white anglos getting what they are getting in prison, it will cause them to stop recruiting undocumented workers from mexico.

The Arizonian said...

Anonymous said...

Uh -

so what ? the big bosses are wealthy white anglos.

The wealthy anglo bosses need to go to prison so they can be sodomized by big beefy cellmates


Actually, they are wealthy middle eastern bosses.....

Anonymous said...

Arizonan -

in the case of howard industries it is wealthy white anglos. You understand my point.

Here is the tv commercial i am envisioning - the swat team marches in to the fancy country club, finds a few wealthy white anglo immigration law violators, handcuffs them and marches them out.

Cut to a big nasty looking prison - the wealthy white anglo is locked in his cell with a huge beefy violent type that obviously intends to do violent things to him

fade to the message

"if you exploit undocumented workers, be sure you are ready to pay the price"

fade out


Arizonan, please understand that this would work. And please understand that this is the only thing that will work

The Arizonian said...

While I understand that this may be a deterrent, my bet will be that it will serve as a minor deterrent.

All one has to do is look at those that still commit: murder, forgery, fraud, identity theft, robbery, child abuse, rape, assault, etc.

If the level of intelligence in the US continues to fall, people will increasingly not care about the consequences of their actions until it is too late.

Again more examples: ENRON, the dot bomb, current housing "crisis", inflation....
These are all things that people gambled on, and now they have to pay up. But they still continue to smash their toes with a hammer and then complain about the pain.

People will continue to serve their immediate wants over their long term needs.

I believe there is no crisis. After all, iPods, Playstations, Wii's, and other consumer product sales are still going strong. It seems that the whole scenario is made up, or people are still filling their short term wants, ignoring their responsibility...

Anonymous said...

Again, those owners/employers are not all white anglos. I would be willing to bet that a good majority of them are Jews.

Page Hits