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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

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

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.

Nearly $10 million more in bad news for Agriprocessors

By Lynda Waddington | 10.29.08 | 1:09 pm

The woes surrounding Agriprocessors deepened exponentially this morning on news that the State of Iowa is assessing nearly $10 million in civil penalties for wage law violations and that a former human resources worker pleaded guilty on immigration and identity theft-related charges.

“Once again, Agriprocessors has demonstrated a complete disregard for Iowa law,” Dave Neil, Iowa labor commissioner, said in a prepared statement this morning. “This continued course of violations is a black mark on Iowa’s business community.”

Agriprocessors management will have 30 days to file written notice that they contest the $9.98 million penalty assessment by the state. Included in the assessment are:

  • $9,643,000 penalty for illegally deducting a charge for frocks ($100 per instance, 96,436 separate instances) — affecting 2,001 employees for a total of $192,597.36 in lost wages.
  • $339,700 assessment for illegally deducting “sales tax/miscellaneous” costs 3,397 times — affecting 1,073 employees for a total of $72,189.09 in lost wages.
  • $264,786.45 in back wages

Additionally, the state is charging that Agriprocessors failed to pay 42 employees their last paychecks on May 16 and May 23, following the massive immigration raid at the plant on May 12.  Information released by the state indicates that “due to the overlapping nature of pay periods, seven individuals were shorted two paychecks.” The kosher meatpacker was assessed a $4,900 penalty for this violation.

Laura Althouse, 38 and a former human resources department worker at Agriprocessors, pleaded guilty in federal court this morning to one count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Court documents indicate that Althouse conspired with others to harbor undocumented workers at Agriprocessors in Postville, and that she did so for commercial advantage and private financial gain. Information from the court also showed that Althouse “possessed and used, without lawful authority,” a resident alien numer that was assigned to another person in committing the harboring offense.

Althouse currently remains free on bond, but her sentencing is pending. She faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and a possible maximum of 12 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and 4 years of supervised release.

Another Agriprocessors human resources worker, Karina Freund, has pleaded not guilty to immigration-related charges and remains released on bond. Both women have been named, along with other members of plant management, in a criminal complaint alleging more than 9,000 violations of Iowa child labor laws.

Two former middle management supervisors at the plant have also pleaded guilty to other immigration-related charges.

The various state and national investigations into practices as Agriprocessors appear to be taking a toll on the plant. Sources in Postville told Iowa Independent that the beef line at the plant has been shut down for three days, and that the roughly 250 cattle being kept in a holding pen were loaded on to trucks this morning. A call directly to the Postville facility to confirm the report resulted in no comment. Out-of-state spokespersons have not immediately responded to Iowa Independent’s request.

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  • Trucks for Sale in Maine

    This is very sad – but I guess that's the state of the world we live in today.

  • Carros deportivos

    i feel sorry for Laura Althouse

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