Rabbi Basil Herring, the EVP of the Rabbinical Council of America, has this to say about Hechsher Tzedek:
"Kosher is kosher, and kosher reflects the requirements of what renders an animal ... acceptable for a Jew to properly eat," said Rabbi Basil Herring, executive vice president of the council. "Of course there are always ethical concerns whether it's regarding food or clothing or furniture ... but it is inappropriate to mix the two realms together."
Furthermore, Herring said labor law is the government's domain: "For a kosher agency or a rabbinic group to take upon itself those responsibilities ... would be enormously complex, inefficient and, frankly, very, very expensive."
Would the cost truly be "very expensive"? I don't think so. Certainly, the costs won't be any more than existing kosher supervision – and the RCA would never label those costs "very expensive."
Also, as we pointed out Thursday, the "it's not our job" excuse flies in the face of the RCA's stated policy:
…As the need has arisen, workers have organized themselves to preserve the dignity of human beings and protect them from exploitation. The RCA is proud to have been one of the first national Rabbinic bodies to have supported the United Farm Workers [union] in their efforts to organize the vineyards and produce fields of California. Similar efforts are underway in other areas of the country where migrant laborers are found.
We therefore resolve that:
The RCA and its member congregations reaffirm their support for the United Farm Workers [union] in their struggle to bring justice to all agricultural laborers.
The RCA strongly supports legislation to ban sweatshop labor and to hold contractors responsible for any subcontractor exploiting their workers.
The RCA and its constituents shall speak out vigorously whenever human dignity is compromised by unsafe working conditions.
Either the RCA views abuses by businesses that produce specifically kosher food (and that pay the OU a large amount of money annually) with a much kinder eye than it views equal abuses from businesses that produce other goods and services, or the RCA word means nothing.
The truth is, both are probably accurate.