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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

More People, Organizations Call for Changes at Agriprocessors

By Lynda Waddington | 05.27.08 | 9:16 am

Uri L’Tzedek, a grassroots Orthodox social justice initiative, has penned a letter to Aaron Rubashkin, founder of the Agriprocessors Corporation, expressing displeasure with the company’s ethical practices. The letter, which makes demands for federal minimum wages, workplace and worker safety and ethical treatment, has drawn the approval of hundreds of U.S. kosher meat consumers.

“We only expected a few committed individuals to sign on initially,” explained Shmuly Yanklowitz, founder and co-director of Uri L’Tzedek. “Instead, we’ve received hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails and phone calls of support, asking how to get involved, and where to find alternatives to Agriprocessors’ meat.”

Among the signers are 200 pulpit rabbis, Hillel directors, day school principals, educators and other Jewish community leaders.

“I think our community is realizing that there is a lot at stake here,” Yanklowitz said. “This is an opportunity for us to see whether or not we, as a religious community, can uphold the reputation of religious Jewry for being an ethical and moral people and to see if we can really take the ethics of Torah seriously. It’s an opportunity for our community to act with urgency and commitment to counteract the immense chillul hashem that’s been created.”

In Hebrew, “chillul hashem” means “desecration of God’s name.”

The letter makes three demands:

  1. Agriprocessors pay all its workers at least the federal minimum wage.
  2. Agriprocessors recommit to abide by all federal, state and local laws including those pertaining to worker safety, sexual harassment, physical abuse, and the rights of its employees to collective bargaining.
  3. Agriprocessors treat those who work for the company according to the standards that the Torah and halakha places on protecting workers — standards that include the spirit of lifnim meshurat hadin, meaning going beyond the bare minimum requirements of the law.

The letter by this organization comes on the heels of the Jewish Labor Committee calling for “Agriprocessors to live up to the responsibilities of corporate citizenship” and urging consumers of kosher meat products to seek alternatives to the Rubashkin labels.

Finding alternatives to Rubashkin’s meats, however, may be easier said than done.

Agriprocessors produces about 60 percent of the kosher meat and 40 percent of the kosher poultry in the U.S. market. The company’s brands include Aaron’s Best, Aaron’s Choice, European Glatt, Nevel, Shor Harbor, Rubashkin’s, Supreme Kosher, David’s and Iowa’s Best. Two-thirds of their products are nonkosher, and are sold through retailers including Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s. Sales of kosher beef and poultry in America are about $300 million annually, and a Dunn & Bradstreet report lists Rubashkin Industries, which includes real estate and other ventures in addition to meat, with an annual income of $84.9 million.

In April, roughly a month prior to the Immigration and Custom Enforcement action on the plant, Agriprocessors lost one of its three kosher supervising agencies. K’hal Adath Jeshurun ended its supervision of all Agriprocessors products effective April 15 in a letter sent to Aaron Rubashkin in December. The letter, while not revealing the reason for the change, did indicate that Agriprocessors had appealed the supervising agency’s original decision to terminate the relationship.

In addition People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animals’ rights group that sent an undercover worker to the Postville plant in 2004, wrote a letter to Gov. Chet Culver in the wake of the raid that encouraged him to “put pressure on applicable state and local authorities to revoke all operating licenses for Agriprocessors.”

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Comments

  • http://iowaindependent.com Ghost

    They continue to usher in illegals as well as now taking advantage of the ‘economically disadvantaged’ by the recruiting of the homeless. Why doesn’t the Department of Labor monitor this situation a little more closer???
    I’m am one of many “new recruits” in the Agriprocessors ‘excellent opportunity’ scam. Starting at the end of May there were rumors floating about of this “awesome” job offer in Iowa. As the news quickly traveled amongst the Homeless population of Amarillo, Texas the shelters began to empty out as men eagerly hopped a Greyhound. Now 2 months later, a third of them have already returned just as broke and burnt out as when they left.The flyer at Panhandle Worksource exaggerates beyond belief this “Kosher Hoax”.—Agriprocessors pays for the relocation of its employees to Iowa. Hourly pay Ranges ar $10-$18p/hr +time1/2 for over 40 hrs worked. Health, Dental, Vision, & 401K Benefits are available.- Total BS! These Jews are the modern day Hitlers of smalltown Iowa.

  • http://iowaindependent.com Ghost

    They continue to usher in illegals as well as now taking advantage of the 'economically disadvantaged' by the recruiting of the homeless. Why doesn't the Department of Labor monitor this situation a little more closer???
    I’m am one of many “new recruits” in the Agriprocessors ‘excellent opportunity’ scam. Starting at the end of May there were rumors floating about of this “awesome” job offer in Iowa. As the news quickly traveled amongst the Homeless population of Amarillo, Texas the shelters began to empty out as men eagerly hopped a Greyhound. Now 2 months later, a third of them have already returned just as broke and burnt out as when they left.The flyer at Panhandle Worksource exaggerates beyond belief this “Kosher Hoax”.—Agriprocessors pays for the relocation of its employees to Iowa. Hourly pay Ranges ar $10-$18p/hr +time1/2 for over 40 hrs worked. Health, Dental, Vision, & 401K Benefits are available.- Total BS! These Jews are the modern day Hitlers of smalltown Iowa.

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