Of course, Getzel Rubashkin will tell you these are all "rumors" originating from people "out to get" his family business, shechita, or even the Jewish people.
The problem is, these allegations match the allegations made by other new workers, and even match…
…claims made by dozens and dozens of Agriprocessors pre-raid workforce.
Even worse for Getzel Rubashkin, these Somali workers have documentation for some of the abuse – as, by the way, do other new workers.
Somalian workers fill meatpacking jobs in Postville
TONY LEYS • REGISTER STAFF WRITER • JULY 28, 2008
Postville, Ia. – African immigrants are adding to Postville’s multi-cultural story, but their chapter could wind up being short.
Scores of people from Somalia have arrived here in recent weeks to work at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant. Most of them are young men who are filling jobs previously held by hundreds of Guatemalan and Mexican workers seized in an immigration raid May 12.
Several of the Somalians said they came to the United States legally as refugees from the chaos and death that civil war brought to their east-African homeland. They said many of them were living in the Minneapolis area when labor-recruiting firms or word-of-mouth recommendations drew them to Postville.
Several expressed displeasure with what they found here, and predicted they and most of their countrymen would leave.
Hassan Yusuf, 22, said he and others were promised a bonus and a free month’s rent if they came to work at the plant. “We never got it,” he said. “They’re just trying to grab us here.”
He showed a paycheck stub from Jacobson Companies, a Des Moines-based firm that has been hiring workers to fill jobs at Agriprocessors. The check was for his first week’s work, with deductions for rent and a loan he said he never took out. After the deductions, he netted $8.61. The paperwork showed he was supposed to make $10 an hour, and that he’d been paid for 34.5 hours. He said he actually worked 48 hours.
He showed another paycheck stub, from his cousin, who netted nothing for a week’s work.
Yusuf said he quit the job this weekend and wants the recruiting company to pay for a bus ticket back to Texas, where he last lived.
An Agriprocessors representative referred questions to Jacobson Companies. Jacobson lawyer Marty Howard declined comment.
Postville has been known as a place where longtime, Christian residents have had a sometimes tense relationship with Orthodox Jews who own and run the kosher meatpacking plant. The Somalians add a new twist to that story, because they are Muslim.
Yusuf said he and his friends are observant Muslims who forswear alcohol. They have no mosque, and there is none nearby. When they aren’t working, he said, they hang around their cramped apartments or gather on the sidewalks of Postville’s small downtown. One of them is trying to open a Somali restaurant in a storefront that used to house a mattress store.
Yusuf said the main problem he has had as a Muslim here is that he was not allowed to stop working to fulfill his religion’s requirement to pray five times a day.
Abdikarim Nur, 19, said he recently quit after working two weeks at Agriprocessors. He said he received no training, and most of his pay was withheld.
Nur said the recruiting company arranged living quarters, with many men packed into small apartments. The living conditions apparently were the same as those endured by the illegal immigrants who were arrested in May, he said. “They treat us like they used to treat the old people, and that’s not right,” he said.
Some townspeople blame a spate of fights and other trouble on newcomers who have arrived to work at Agriprocessors since the raid. Yusuf and his friends said the Somalians have had no part in that trouble. Police Chief Mike Halse agreed, saying he doesn’t know of any Somalians causing problems.
I know of other new Agriprocessors hires with the same story – and nearly the same pay stubs.
Don't be confused by the Jacobson Staffing angle. Agriprocessors is responsible for this. If Jacobson is mistreating workers – and it certainly seems to be – Agriprocessors should fire Jacobson and, at the same time, right the wrongs done.
Instead, Somali workers are eating from a Catholic food shelf partially supported by non-Orthodox Jews disgusted with Agriprocessors and the Rubashkin family.
Not much, it seems.
Martin is no different than 5WPR. He's a paid shill for Agriprocessors, a fig leaf to cover up very naked greed and abuse.
How does Jim Martin sleep at night?
Perhaps he counts hundred dollar bills earned at the expense of the poorest and weakest among us.
[Hat Tips: Private Eye & Stephen Mendelsohn.]