This is a must-read, can’t-miss post from Edmundo at Xicano Power providing a detailed report of the history of Agriprocessors, the company raided in Postville Iowa, and the story of the community that was trampled by ICE last week.
An excerpt on the history of worker’s abuses at Agriprocessors:
To meet production goals, the processing lines in this plant move exceedingly fast. Workers are under extreme pressure to keep up, and some have reported being verbally abused if they fall behind. Others try to keep up to the best of their abilities, but very few work in this plant for more than a couple of months without suffering an injury of one type or another.
Between April 2001 to February 2006, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) records show no less than 20 violations at AgriProcessors, according to testimony given before the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. Of these, twelve were identified by OSHA as serious.
An examination of the plant’s OSHA workplace injury logs, it reveals that there have been over five amputations from 2001-2005, two of them occurring in 2005. The logs also reveal other serious injuries have occurred at the plant, such as broken bones, eye injuries and hearing loss.
In another video released by PETA, the video shows the human resources director at AgriProcessors denying health coverage for work-related medical care to a plant worker. In an interview with The Forward, a national Jewish weekly newspaper, PETA investigator said that AgriProcessors’ supervisors showed little concern and were reluctant to allow their employee’s access to the company’s doctor when their workers were injured or sick. The article also asserts that AgriProcessors’ heavily Latino work force were inadequate given safety training.
A month after The Forward piece ran, that described the unsafe working conditions and worker mistreatment at AgriProcessors, two Conservative Jewish organizations, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Rabbinical Assembly, created a task force to investigate the abuses.