Robert Frank worked for several years as a mashgiach in the Montefiore Hospital kitchen in the Bronx. The hospital is affiliated with Yeshiva University and its food service is under OU kosher supervision.
Frank reported several serious kosher violations to his OU supervisor. In an arrangement with the OU, both Frank and the supervisor were employees of the hospital.
The supervisor did not fix the problems and the OU did not either.
An example: the kitchen had only one working dishwasher for the better part of a year. This meant that milk and meat dishes were frequently washed in the same dishwasher – a violation of kosher rules according to the OU and most other kosher supervising organizations.
Frank reported the problem several times and then went over his OU supervisor's head after nothing changed.
That got a new dishwasher installed but it did not end Frank's troubles with Montefiore and with his OU supervisor.
For his efforts to protect kashrut – see reports on this blog and on LukeFord.net – Frank was fired by the hospital. The OU refused to give him another job. And eventually, Frank had to apply for food stamps.
Before Reuven Frank was fired, Frank's wife Barbara worked several days a week at another company for the OU as a mashgiach.
After her husband went public with the problems at Montefiore, the OU stopped giving her work.
When she asked Rabbi Steinberg, her supervisor at the OU, why she wasn't getting any work, Steinberg told her, "you know why."
"You're married to him," Steinberg said.
I spoke to Rabbi Steinberg then and confirmed the exchange took place.
Then I asked Steinberg about the legality and ethics of the OU behaving like this.
Steinberg declined to comment, citing the OU's media policy.
According to the Franks, later that afternoon, Rabbi Steinberg called them and said the exchange was a "misunderstanding," and he promised the OU would give her work.
Three and half months passed and the OU did not offer Barbara Frank any work. The Franks then filed a federal lawsuit against the OU.
The OU did not respond to the initial filing, Frank told me, and at the end of the 60 day period to respond, the OU asked for a 30 day extension, which Frank's attorney granted.
Six months have passed since the Franks say the OU promised Barbara Frank work. According to the Franks, the OU has still not given Barbara Frank any work.
I called Rabbi Steinberg today to find out why.
I reminded him that he had promised Barbara Frank work six months ago, and that those six months had passed without the OU giving Barbara Frank any work. I asked him why.
Rabbi Steinberg declined to comment.