October 17, 2007
Cedar Rapids, Iowa– The United States’ leading kosher meatpacking company will appear in federal court today challenging a class action lawsuit filed against the company on behalf of its workers.
The lawsuit alleges that Agriprocessors, a kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa,
has not compensated workers for the time they spend preparing for work at the beginning of the day and cleaning up at the end of it. Such compensation has recently been upheld by the Supreme Court. Agriprocessors is trying to limit worker participation in its attempt to avoid its obligations under Iowa state law which provides that all employees are automatically plaintiffs in the lawsuit unless they sign a form indicating otherwise. Agriprocessors is arguing that only federal law applies, which requires employees to sign a form requesting participation in the class action suit.
Working conditions and food safety at the AgriProcessors slaughterhouse have been under scrutiny in the past year. In May of this year, over 200 workers stood up for their rights and walked out of the plant in protest of the company’s misconduct.
Agriprocessors, one of the nation’s largest kosher meat producers, runs a beef, lamb and poultry processing plant in Postville, Iowa. Agriprocessors produces products under the following brand names: Aaron’s Best, Aaron’s Choice, European Glatt, Iowa Best Beef, Nevel, Shor Harbor , Rubashkin’s, Supreme Kosher, and David’s.
“Essentially the company is trying to undercut the voices of hundreds of workers by delaying the lawsuit and trying to limit their right to recover unpaid wages through overwhelming them with more paperwork and red tape,” says Attorney Brian McCafferty. McCafferty will be representing the workers today in Cedar Rapids, Iowa federal court.
For more information go to www.eyeonagriprocessors.com.