Labour Mess Cripples NY Kosher Meat

US - A kosher-meat crisis has hit New York as the endless labour supplies run dry.
calendar icon 7 July 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

From Supersol, a kosher supermarket on the Upper West Side, to Glatt Mart in Flatbush, meat departments have been struggling to maintain supply. Even FreshDirect lists ten kosher meat products as temporarily unavailable, reports New York Magazine.

According to New York Magazine it’s all because Agriprocessors, a Brooklyn-based company that’s the country’s largest kosher-meat supplier, has been facing crippling labor problems. “Their supply used to be endless,” laments Dov Bauman, owner of Glatt Mart, who’s been scrambling to fill his poultry cases.

In May, federal authorities conducted the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history at Agriprocessors’ Postville, Iowa, meatpacking plant, arresting more than a third of the workforce—389 employees, including eighteen juveniles.

The plant’s owner, Brooklyn Hasid Aaron Rubashkin, has been struggling to keep up production ever since, but replacement workers bused in from around the country haven’t stuck around. One employment agency pulled its 150 temp laborers within days, citing safety concerns.

Lately the company has resorted to recruiting the homeless from Texas. “We got a big mess, no question about it,” the 80-year-old Rubashkin told the JTA news agency in an interview outside his Brooklyn shop.

The mess is getting bigger: Since the raid, female employees have reportedly complained they were offered promotions in exchange for sexual favors, and allegations surfaced in the press of a methamphetamine lab in operation at the plant. More than a dozen state and federal agencies are investigating the company.

  • View the New York Magazine story by clicking here.

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