What can you say about the situation at the AgriProcessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa other than it was the kind of thing for which the term “shandeh fur de goyim” was invented?
The Jewish world has been seriously abuzz about this whole big mess for a several weeks running now. If by chance you haven’t been following the story, you should know it touches all the bases, from maltreatment of undocumented workers to government raids/detention to union busting to cruelty to animals to (I kid you not) allegations of illegal methamphetamine labs. If you want some sordid reading material on the subject, you can check out these articles in the Chicago Trib or the Jewish Forward. I just don’t think I can bear to summarize it all for you here.
All I can say is thank goodness for Uri L’Tzedek (“Awaken to Justice”) – a grassroots petition/boycott initiative by the brave yeshiva students at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Another gutsy player is the Jewish Labor Committee, who has been tirelessly tracking this issue. (For more on the rising Jewish protest against AgriProcessors, check out this article from The Nation).
thank you, Brant, for the varied information in this posting. it eventually led to another entry I found informative:
Leah Koenig, a Jewish vegetarian (can you tell) blogger, June 12th, 2008, published an interview with a former Mashgiach at Agriprocessors. She summarizes her thoughts afterward:
I am by no means an Agriprocessors supporter after talking with Zalman. However, I was able to see that some of the major problems associated with Agriprocessors are not necessarily the result of “evil” leadership, but more of an “evil” system of industrial agriculture across the board. However, I still expect far better from the kosher industry and think we as a community have a right to demand it.
if you can add this to the previous comment, please do:
another posting from the same site, this one by Rabbi Morris Allen (founder of the organization Hekhsher Tzedek) who visited Postville and spoke with both townspeople and some of the fired workers – many of whom face charges and have no income. A local church is acting as a ‘city of refuge’; donation information is included in the posting: