Postville, IA – The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has filed a criminal complaint and affidavit today in Allamakee County District Court listing more than 9,000 alleged violations of Iowa child labor laws at Agriprocessors in Postville.
Link to the AG press release here
Those named in the court documents are:
* Abraham Aaron Rubashkin — principal owner and president of Agriprocessors, Inc.
* Sholom M. Rubashkin — Son of Aaron, manager of the slaughtering and meat packing plant at Postville and a company officer.
* Elizabeth Billmeyer — human resources manager of Agriprocessors, Inc. and a resident of Postville.
* Laura Althouse — management employee in the human resources department at Agriprocessors in Postville.
* Karina Freund — management employee in the human resources department at Agriprocessors in Postville.
A total of 9,311 child labor violations, involving 32 minors under the age of 18, are included in the court documents. Seven of the 32 minors were under the age of 16. The alleged violations range from September 2007 to May 12 of this year — the date of the massive federal immigration raid on the plant. All violations are simple misdemeanors, each punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $65 to $625.
An initial appearance has been scheduled before Iowa District Court Judge John Bauercamper for Sept. 17 in Allamakee County.
From the documents filed with the court:
“During the period of Sept. 9, 2007, through May 12, 2008, the persons as listed as employee-victims in the attached Complaint were employed and permitted to work at Agriprocessors’ slaughtering and meat packing establishment. All were under eighteen years of age on each of the dates listed. Throughout their employment these children were exposed to dangerous and/or poisonous chemicals, including, but not limited to, dry ice and chlorine solutions. Several of these employee-victims were also under sixteen years of age during the dates for which they are identified as such in the Complaint. Throughout their employment, these children, while under sixteen years of age, were employed in the operation of or tending of power-driven machinery, including, but not limited to, conveyor belts, meat grinders, circular saws, power washers, and power shears.”
The court documents also enumerate more than 1,500 violations relating to hours worked, including employee-victims under 16 who worked more than eight hours on specified days, and more than 40 hours in specified weeks. According to the affadavit, records indicate that there were instances of children under the age of 16 working before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. and, while school was in session, working more than four hours in a day and more than 28 hours in a week.
The Iowa Attorney General found that “all of the named individual defendants possessed shared knowledge that Agriprocessors employed undocumented aliens” and “that many of those workers were minors.”