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Orthodox Union to Agriprocessors: Hire new management or lose certification
Child labor violation charges filed today by the Iowa Attorney General against Agriprocessors and five individuals in plant management have prompted the Orthodox Union (OU), arguably the best-known kosher certification enterprise in the U.S., to issue an ultimatum to the company.
“Within the coming days, or let’s say a week or two, we will suspend our supervision unless there’s new management in place,” Rabbi Menachem Genack, the head of kosher supervision for the Orthodox Union, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency this afternoon.
Shortly after the May 12 immigration raid at the plant, the company announced that Sholom M. Rubashkin, son of owner Aaron Rubashkin, was being ousted from his position as chief executive officer and president. The ouster was prompted, at least in part, by threats from the Orthodox Union. Although the search for a replacement had been narrowed, no one has yet been hired to replace him.
Ganack, in an interview with Shmarya Rosenberg of FailedMessiah.com, said this afternoon that the Rubashkin family would need to hire a “new indepedent CEO,” but conceded that members of the Rubashkin family could remain on the company’s board.
“[The family] can’t be involved in running the plant — actually hands-on running of the plant,” Ganack said.
It is unclear if the decision by the Orthodox Union would be limited to only the Postville facility or would also encompass operations at Local Pride, an Agriprocessors plant located in Gordon, Neb.
Sholom and Aaron Rubashkin, along with three human resources workers, were named today in the attorney general’s charges.
On April 16, kosher certifier K’Hal Adath Jeshurun (KAJ) terminated its supervision of all Agriprocessors’ operations. The decision was made, according to a letter from the KAJ, “after consideration of the appeals made” by the Rubashkin family.
Vos Iz Neias? is reporting that Rabbi Menachem Weissmandl will continue to provide the Rubashkin family and Agriprocessors his certification, regardless of the OU’s decision.
“My job and expertise is strictly kosher supervision. As long as the strict guidelines of Kosher Shichitah is followed in this plant, my Hecsher will stay on.”
Rabbi Weissmandl previously told Iowa Independent that he is “the supervising rabbi for all glatt kosher meat and strictly kosher poultry at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville.”