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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

AGRIPROCESSORS DECLARES BANKRUPTCY AS KOSHER MEAT SHORTAGE WORSENS

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The nation's largest Kosher meat and poultry processing plant has declared bankruptcy in the wake of a massive immigration raid and criminal charges being filed against high level officials of the company.

The company is still operating, though it is down to a fraction of the staff that previously worked at the company. The company is now operating with 250 workers, down from 700 following the raid (most of whom were employees of a staffing company).

The company supplies 60% of the nation's Kosher meat and the troubles at the company have already had a serious impact on the market. According to the Associated Press:

Experts said Agriprocessors provided about 60 percent of the
nation's supply of kosher meat, with most of that coming from the
Postville plant. The company also operates a plant near Gordon, Neb.


"That's potentially devastating. What's worse, the Postville plant
was supplying many smaller communities almost exclusively," said Joe
Regenstein, a kosher food expert at Cornell University. "It had a
unique distribution niche."


He said production at the plant has slowed so much in recent weeks
that the impact is already being felt in smaller communities.
Regenstein said the reduced supply also hurts urban Jewish communities,
but they can more easily find other suppliers.


"It would have to take a major effort for someone to up their
production," Regenstein said. "If they had the meat they could
distribute it, but I'm not sure the infrastructure is in place for
someone to step in and take over operation of the plant."


Rabbi Morris Allen of the Beth Jacob Congregation in St. Paul, Minn., said Jews throughout the country depend on Agriprocessors.


"It's a tragedy it's had to come to this," Allen said.


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Comments

  1. Another voice's Avatar
    Instead of helping businesses they are pushing them to the brink of shutdown, I am sure they were not perfect but many families depend on them for jobs and product.
  2. Commenter's Avatar
    So what's your point, Siskind? You wish the enforcement action had never happened and that child labor laws would continue to be violated there?
  3. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I'm not commenting on alleged child labor law violations which were not the basis for the immigration raid nor the convictions. The meat industry in this country cannot function without immigrant labor. We need a guestworker program, plain and simple. As long as we lack such a program, we will see this story play out over and over again until the meat industry has completely outsourced all of their operations. The Agriprocessors case is interesting because it involves a limited marketplace that can be more easily observe. The predictions of pro-immigration advocates of what will eventually happen as we strictly enforce our no immigration policies are playing out in this microcosm. Enforcement without legal options for employers will lead to lawbrearking, outsourcing, and dramatic inflation in the affected industries.
  4. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    I think, the point is simple - Americans are not lining up to take those at any commercially viable wage. By commercially viable I mean the wage that will allow the company to sell the products in the US at no loss. Unless you yourself can claim that you are willing to take a $10/hour tough manual labor job and move for it to the middle of nowhere (no relocation assistance) AND pay $5 for a pack of kosher hotdogs, your anti point is pretty much moot.
  5. USC's Avatar
    "So what's your point, Siskind?"

    It seems like you need lessons in common courtesy. Greg has mentioned that he prefers to be referred to by his first name. If, for some unexplained reason you are unable to comply with that simple request, etiquette demand that you precede the last name with a Mr.
  6. alex's Avatar
    I have only one question: Is the meat still kosher if it was handled by leopards?
  7. iowan's Avatar
    It seems to me that the whole idea of what constitutes"Kosher" needs to be rethought. Is meat produced in horrible unclean conditions kosher?If workers have to work in subhuman conditions is this kosher? Can you really have kosher slaughtering in large factory conditions that does not abuse the livestock? Can you really have an environmentally friendly kosher slaughtering operation?Those of you who consume so-called kosher meat should think beyond the narrow minded thinking of a few rabbinical "experts" and reconsider the true costs of what you are consuming in the name of rightiousness.
  8. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Iowan - You raise good points and there has already been a new organization of rabbis created that will consider these issues in giving an approval. This is very encouraging.
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