And he did it…
…by calling into Jeff Abbas' Postville radio show:
Please note: What follows is a rough transcript based on an audio interview between Jeff Abbas of KPVL radio in Postville, IA and a call-in guest who identified himself as a former Shipping Department supervisor at Agriprocessors.
Caller: They would short them 50 cents an hour based on whether or not they spoke any words of English. I’ve been around a number of plants, packing plants, and this isn’t done, I mean, that kind of practice, you come in for a job, an entry level job, everyone gets paid the same no matter what your English ability is.
Host: So simply because they couldn’t speak English, they were, they were docked 50 cents an hour.
Caller: 50 cents an hour
Host: Did you ever hear any reason behind that?
Caller: Yeah, because they don’t speak English, that was told to me by the HR manager directly, now the only exception to that was if some of them came in with skills that they had acquired at another plant then they would give them that extra money
Host: Now they were a lot of allegations in the affidavit and search warrant, some of those detailing different color checks for different people, did you ever see anything like that?
Caller: I did not see any different color checks but I had in my, in my department alone I had two individuals, one was Hispanic, and one was Jewish, that did not get paid by check.
Host: Paid, paid by cash?
Host: Now, you also mentioned when we spoke earlier some product misrepresentation?
Caller: Oh yeah, a day did not go by, and I’m saying this not as an exaggeration but literally, a day did not go by when they did not relabel product to make it look fresher than it was. So, if a customer ordered a particular date and we didn’t have that date we had to go and relabel.
Host: And that was done in your department?
Caller: Oh yeah. And I mean some of the other departments would do it on occasion but most of the time it was done in mine. And we did this right under the nose of the USDA and a lotta times they would just turn around and walk the other way, they would say, when I brought it up one time, they would say, well, it’s not in your SOP, so we can’t do anything about it.
Host: And this was coming from the inspectors?
Host: Well, that’s an interesting point.
Caller: Oh, I can’t tell you how many pounds, I mean it would be nothing uncommon to send a whole semi load to (unintelligible) of combos that had been redated to meet their date specifications
Host: And the average shelf life on fresh meat is what seven days?
Caller: Well, most places I go, you have to get it out within five days so, yeah, seven days by the time it gets to the plant.
Host: So how close was this, this product to being at, at the expiration date?
Caller: Well, on like the, the combo we would send to ConAgra, some of that would be at the seven to nine day range, some of it would be a little older depending on when it was produced versus when the order came in, but a lot of like, boxed product, we’d send to customers, we’re talking months, weeks.
Host: And that would have been frozen product?
Caller: Oh no, that, I don’t even count that, I’m talking your fresh. Your frozen product, some of that stuff we redated, I think the oldest I ever did was five years.
Host: That’s absolutely incredible. I’m still trying to digest this, happening under the, under the nose of the USDA inspectors that’s the first I’ve heard anything like this. Anything else?
Caller: Well, I had, like for holidays, I had employees that, in the shipping department we’d work a lot of hours, they would work just a ton of hours, and some of those guys would work way late on one day and we’d tell them, you know, I’d have my supervisors tell them, ok, you know, you can come in fifteen, twenty minutes, depending on how late they worked they’d come in a little later the next day. Well, if this happened on a holiday week-end, because we were pushing, they would come in like fifteen minutes late. I had this young gentleman, hard worker as you can, you’ve never seen in your life, excellent man, he came in fifteen minutes late after working four hours extra the day before, we approved this, I could not get him his holiday pay. He was ripped off of eight hours of holiday pay and this happened more than once.
Host: Now, how many times would you go to your supervisors with a problem and what happened when you tried to talk with them?
Caller: Well, you know you’d go to my, my direct supervisor was the Operations Manager and, well, you need to go see, I don’t know if I can use names or not so I’ll just use the HR manager. I’d have to go plead my case to her and, well, the excuse was, well, he came in late. Well, yeah, but we approved it, as a department manager I can approve these things. Well, then that sets a precedent we’d have to pay’em all that way. And I said no, I said I’m just asking for this, for this individual, works hard, you know I approved it, and they wouldn’t do it. You know, the HR department, manager specifically, shut these things down like you wouldn’t believe.
Gotta wonder what else Rubashkin relabeled, especially because it seems the OU and Rabbi Wiessmandal did not have rabbis stationed in the shipping department.
[Hat Tip: UFCW Union.]