Initiated by the Jewish Labor Committee
In the aftermath of the May 12th Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on the Agriprocessors, Inc. plant in Postville, Iowa, many of the company’s other longstanding labor violations have come to light. In recent years, the following abuses have been documented at Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat processing plant in North America, and the Jewish community cannot ignore them any longer:
· abuse of child labor laws;
· failure to pay workers the full amount of wages they have earned;
· unnecessary exposure of workers to dangerous – even life-threatening – working conditions; and
· sexual harassment.
As an organization committed to the defense of human rights, the Jewish Labor Committee has long condemned the abuse of workers by any employer for any reason.
We applaud the increasing number of Jewish groups, ranging from the Orthodox Jewish social justice group Uri L’Tzedek to the B’nai Brith Youth Organization, who have in different ways called on Agriprocessors owner Aaron Rubashkin to improve labor standards at Agriprocessors. We support the calls for a boycott of the company until it meaningfully reforms how it treats its workers.
As Jews of diverse backgrounds, we hereby add our voices to the growing call for the management of Agriprocessors to live up to their responsibilities of corporate citizenship, to end its campaign of worker abuse, and respect the rights of their employees, including their legal right to union representation. Until Agriprocessors establishes a demonstrable commitment to these responsibilities, we will urge consumers of kosher meat products, individuals as well as institutions, to seek alternatives to the Rubashkin labels.
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Jewish Labor Committee – 25 East 21st Street – New York, NY 10010 fax: 212-477-1918