The Des Moines Register is reporting United Food and Commercial Workers Union leadership asked ICE not to raid Agriprocessors.
Because there is an ongoing Iowa and federal labor law violations investigation of Agriprocessors and the union fears Rubashkin will use the raid to intimidate workers and throw the next unionization vote:
…Mark Lauritsen, international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, wrote a May 2 letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, advising officials of an ongoing labor dispute at the Postville plant.
Lauritsen said he was concerned that any potential ICE action could have a "chilling effect" on the existing workforce which has reported some Agriprocessors’ workplace violations in the past. In addition, ICE action could result in employees leaving the plant, interfering with a government investigation that would “ultimately uncover unscrupulous employer acts,” he said.
The union had been trying to organize the plant’s non-union workers for collective bargaining purposes, said Jill Cashen, a UFCW spokeswoman in Washington, D.C. What concerns union officials is that they had alerted state and federal labor officials of allegations that Agriprocessors was exploiting underage workers and was paying them off the books, she said Monday.
Now that hundreds of Agriprocessor employees have been taken into custody, “how can justice ever be served on these exploitation issues?” Cashen asked
Lauritsen said that employers at other workplaces where his union had been organizing have abused ICE’s actions not only to imtimidate employees before a National Labor Relations Board election, but to blame the union for immigration actions.
"With these labor disputes in progress, we urge you to suspend any potentially existing enforcement efforts and refuse to be involved in this labor dispute in accordance with the internal guidance, “Questioning Persons During Labor Disputes,” Lauritsen wrote. He said ICE participation had the potential to deprive the workers of their guaranteed protected rights.
Iowa Labor Commissioner Dave Neil confirmed Monday that a state investigation was underway of possible labor law violations at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville. The probe involved alleged violations of wage and child labor laws, he said.
“It is an ongoing investigation, and I can’t really get into the specifics,” Neil said.
Mike Staebell, assistant district director for the U.S. Department of Labor, said, "Yes, I can confirm that we have an open investigation" at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville. He declined to provide additional details.
ICE spokesman Tim Counts said he had no immediate comment on the union's statement.
David Strudhoff, superintendent of Postville Community Schools, said Monday that school officials were served with a 21-point subpoena in early April from investigators with the Iowa Division of Labor Services seeking the records of Postville middle and high school students.
The subpoena compelled the school district to turn over names of all current students and students at the school between 2005 and 2007, their ages, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers and social security numbers. It also, compelled the school district to turn over proof of age, pictures for yearbook photos, passenger lists for all buses, truancy/nonattendance records for the same group and a list of non-graduates from 2005 to 2008.
The subpoena also compelled the school district to turn over a list of all full or part-time bus drivers from 2005 to 2008 and complete school records for 35 students identified only by last name.
In addition, the subpoena compelled the school district to turn over all current work permits for current students and those enrolled between 2005 and 2007. It also sought the employment contracts of Strudhoff and Guidance Counselor Ron Wahl.
Finally, the subpoena compelled the school district to turn over the names of all children working for Wahl at his two apartment buildings which were sold to Agriprocessor CEO, Sholom Rubashkin and all records on Wahl’s school computer or at Postville Community School District that relate to the students and former students of Postville Community Schools and Mr. Wahl’s work with and for Agriprocessor’s Rubashkin and any other entities associated with Agriprocessor’s and Sholom Rubashkin.
A Connection To Kosher Supervision?
I spoke with Iowa Labor Commissioner Dave Neil last year when Rabbi Asher Zeilingold, who gives kosher supervision to Rubashkin's non-glatt output, Sholom Rubashkin and Menachem Lubinsky floated that fake OSHA report 'exonerating' Rubashkin.
Unable to really comment because of various statutes involved, he was, shall we say, clearly shocked by the brazenness of Zeilingold, Rubashkin and Lubinsky.
Could the fake OSHA report be a part of the ongoing state and federal investigation?
And, if it is, those involved in creating it and knowingly using it could very well be indicted.
[Hat Tip: Seymour, Ben Max, etc., et al.]