When law, religion, manufacturing collide

Protest at kosher meat-packing plant focuses on immigration issues, but working conditions also a concern

By Plant Engineering Staff July 28, 2008

The New York Times reported Sunday about a protest at a Postville, IA kosher meat-packing plant . The protest, led by Jewish and Catholic religious officials, immigration reform activists and Hispanic community leaders, protested the recent detaining of almost 400 illegal immigrants, most from Guatemala. Beyond the immigration issue, however, were complaints of poor working conditions at the Agriprocessors facility , the nation’s largest kosher meat processor, and calls for additional safety and machine training of all workers at the facility. Jewish leaders have criticized working conditions at the plant, and questioned whether the working conditions should cause Jews to reconsider buying heat and poultry processed at the facility. A counter-protest by those opposed to providing amnesty for illegal immigrants was also held, but no incidents were reported.