Agriprocessors Fights Unionization
Apparently, not only are the owners of Agriprocessors facing child labor violation charges, stemming from May's workplace raid in Postville, Iowa, but they are also fighting to take away the right of undocumented workers to join labor unions. The Associated Press reports:
Agriprocessors Inc. has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to urge the justices to reconsider their long-held position that workers in the country illegally have a right to join labor unions.
The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether to take the case, but if it does, it could have ramifications for a complicated area of U.S. labor law.
This is unsurprising, given that the raid on their Postville plant happened in the midst of workers attempts to unionize themselves to demand better standards.
A spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Scott Frotman, said the company's only interest is preventing its workers from organizing and demanding better pay.
"This is another example of how this company uses a broken immigration system to drive down wages and working conditions at its facilities," Frotman said.
Agriprocessors made headlines in May when 400 of its workers were detained during a raid on its slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa.
On Tuesday, Agriprocessors owner Abraham Aaron Rubashkin, his son Sholom Rubashkin and other managers at the company were charged with hiring minors to work at the Iowa slaughterhouse, including some children younger than 16 who handled saws and meat grinders.
Though misdemeanors, they were the first criminal charges brought against the plant operators and could carry jail time. The company denied the allegations.
After the charges were filed, the Orthodox Union, one of the largest kosher certifiers in the country, said it would suspend kosher supervision of the plant unless the company hires a new chief executive officer within "several weeks."
Labor groups have long argued that if workplace protections weren't extended to illegal immigrants, a company could feel free to ignore labor standards with impunity and retaliate against any employees who complained.