On Postville and walkouts

Concerns over working conditions at Agriprocessors, the nation’s largest kosher meat processing plant, are heating up after a walk-out organized by the United Food and Commerical Workers, The Forward reports.

The NYTimes piled on with a profile of Conservative rabbi, Morris Allen, leading the charge for a social justice oriented tzedek hecsher.

Allen joined a team of rabbis who investigated the Postville plant last summer: “We weren’t able to verify everything [the Forward reported on working conditions]” Rabbi Allen recalled, “but what we did find was equally painful and filled with indignities.”

The Orhtodox Union equivocated.

“The issues raised — workers’ rights, safety, environmental issues — are not mundane issues,” Rabbi Genack [of the OU] said last week in a telephone interview. “The question is one of implementation. These issues are best dealt with within the mandate of other agencies — federal and state. We believe they’re handling it properly and have the expertise and the authority to handle it.”

Kosher Today suggests the Forward might be on an “Orthodox bashing” “crusade”, that the UFCW is stirring the pot, that there’s no market demand for a social justice certification and anyway, things are tough all over. “The anti-Agri crusade also ignores the fact that Agri is part of a larger meat industry where conditions are considerably worse than at the kosher plants.”

Tom Lehrer responds: Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That’s not my department” says Werner von Braun.

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8 Responses to “On Postville and walkouts”

  1. Avi Says:

    Rabbi Allen is a Conservative Rabbi. The article talks about his Conservative Congregation, and the support tzedek hechsher has gotten from the Rabbinical Assembly(Conservative).

  2. Sarah Rose Says:

    I stand corrected – he is a Conservative rabbi and am making the changes. Thanks!

  3. mishtaneh Says:

    Regarding the OU’s response:
    השמר אחי אנכי?

  4. Sarah Rose Says:

    It’s funny to me how much that error is the product of wishful thinking – how much would I love it if someone from the Orthodox movement took a stand?

  5. Lev Says:

    After a long discussion with my mother about kashrut for Pesach this year, I convinced her to specifically avoid Rubashkin’s brand meat. So now we pay a little bit more and sleep a little bit better. The only way they will learn to treat their workers better is if their bottom line reflects it. And who says the Ultra-Orthodox aren’t totally Americanized in their pursuit of the capitalist dream?

  6. Rabbi Shmuel Says:

    “And who says the Ultra-Orthodox aren’t totally Americanized in their pursuit of the capitalist dream?”

    wow – what a line – you manage to bash Ultra-Orthodox, mainstream Americans and capitalists in one rhetorical say-nothing sentence! I’m curious as to what dealings with Ultra Orthodox you’ve had that left you with that impression or is it just hip to bash the UO? sort of a verbal body practice thing? The Kotzker rebbe once said “not everything that is thought should be said and not everything said should be written and not everything written should be published. . . ” “food” for thought

  7. legalatina Says:

    ….let’s talk about the exploitation of illegal alien labor at these plants. Get real, the owners of these plants are profiteers of illegal immigration and should be ashamed of themselves…is this God’s teaching?

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