Agriprocessors under fire
by: JTA - Last updated: 2008-10-30
Meat producer Agriprocessors has been fined nearly $10 million for work violations
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Agriprocessors has been assessed nearly $10 million in fines for work violations. Iowa Workforce Development, the state's labor regulation agency, levied $9,988,200 in civil penalties against the kosher meat producer in Postville for four categories of infraction.
The largest is for charging employees for frocks - the regulation agency claims the company is guilty of more than 90,000 such incidents, assessed at $100 per infraction.
"Once again, Agriprocessors has demonstrated a complete disregard for Iowa law," said Dave Neil, the state's labor commissioner. "This continued course of violations is a black mark on Iowa's business community."
According to Iowa Workforce Development, the company has 30 days to contest the penalties in writing before they become finalized. The department has an additional wage investigation under way that could lead to further penalties.
The fines are the latest challenge to Agriprocessors, once the nation's largest producer of kosher meat before a massive federal immigration raid on May 12 resulted in the arrest of more than one-third of its workforce. With its reputation taking a drubbing and concerns mounting that the company could lose its kosher certification,
Agriprocessors hired a compliance officer and installed a new chief executive. Company representatives did not immediately respond to a media request request for comment.