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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.

Agriprocessors’ Fines Reduced, State Child Labor Investigation Stalled

By Lynda Waddington | 05.29.08 | 3:29 pm

Agriprocessors, the kosher meatpacking plant that was the site of the nation’s largest single-event federal immigration raid on May 12, has had fines related to numerous health and safety violations reduced by Iowa regulators.

The Iowa Division of Labor Services fined the plant $182,000 in March, based on 39 violations. Kerry Koonce, a spokeswoman for Iowa Workforce Development, said it is not unusual for hefty fines to be reduced following corrections of violations. During informal meetings, company and state officials met to discuss how the problems would be solved, and the fines have been reduced to $42,750.

The Iowa Division of Labor Services, according to Koonce, is continuing its investigation into whether or not the Postville company employed minors.

“That investigation is ongoing,” she said in a telephone interview. “Our problem is that many of our records were confiscated by the federal government [as a part of immigration raid]. Our investigation is stalled until we receive those documents back.”

The investigation into child labor law violations began in March, well before the May 12 immigration raid. The federal government, which took 20-some minors as detainees during the raid, will now also have a role to play in that investigation.

Health and safety investigators found that the company had failed to develop emergency response plans, improperly stored and used hazardous chemicals, failed to develop respirator use programs, had not properly labeled emergency exits, contained emergency alarms that could not be heard by all employees, and had failed to develop safety plans for blood-borne pathogens.

Nearly 400 individuals were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the May 12 immigration raid at the plant. Of those detained, 302 faced criminal charges related to identify theft and/or falsified documents. Nearly all — 297 or 98 percent — opted to take a plea bargain that resulted in most being sentenced to five months in federal prison. Since Iowa contains no federal prison, all will be transported to other states to serve their time, and will then be subject to deportation. It remains unclear if federal prosecutors will have the former plant workers serve as witnesses in any investigation into the company’s possible wrongdoing.

Agriprocessors is owned by Aaron Rubashkin of New York and is the largest kosher meatpacking plant in the nation. Last Friday — two weeks after federal agents served their search warrant and took more than a third of the company’s employees into custody — Rubashkin announced that he intended to replace his son, Sholom, as the company’s chief executive officer.

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Comments

  • jeff

    Was this plant under Basic Pilot, aka E-verify I was wondering if this plant was using the e-verify system. The way around that is for illegal immigrants to use the real identities of other people instead of using fabricated names and Social Security numbers. Those affected by the use of their identities then create pressure on ICE to act. Without that, the agency is likely to ignore enforcement. What percentage of those arrested were charged with identity theft?

  • jeff

    Was this plant under Basic Pilot, aka E-verify I was wondering if this plant was using the e-verify system. The way around that is for illegal immigrants to use the real identities of other people instead of using fabricated names and Social Security numbers. Those affected by the use of their identities then create pressure on ICE to act. Without that, the agency is likely to ignore enforcement. What percentage of those arrested were charged with identity theft?

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