The Rubashkin family opened a sister plant to Postville last year in Nebraska. The JournalStar, seemingly oblivious to the legal and ethical troubles plaguing the Rubashkin operation, reports on the plant’s first year of operations. First, what’s in it for Rubashkin?
The Nebraska plant is also unique in its partnership with the Oglala Lakota Nation, which is just north of Gordon in South Dakota. Oglala leaders declared the plant and 300 surrounding acres of Gordon part of its economic empowerment zone.
For every person living within the zone it employs — Native or otherwise — the company qualifies for a $3,000 federal tax credit.…
Plant manager Gary Ruse said about 65 of the nearly 100 plant employees are Native. He estimated about 15 percent of the work force is Latino and the remainder is Anglo.…
The company got more help Thursday when Gov. Dave Heineman presented a $505,000 check to Rubashkin on behalf of the city of Gordon.
Leaders of the northern Panhandle community of 1,800 — about 430 miles northwest of Lincoln — obtained the funds from the state’s Community Development Block Grant program, said Gordon City Administrator Fred Hlava. The money represents a loan to help with plant expansion costs.
Sounds fine so far. Until you read what the workers are actually paid:
Starting pay is $8.25 per hour without benefits. Ruse said the company plans to offer benefits as soon as it can.
Reread the Forward’s damning report of Rubashkin’s Postville worker abuses. Can you ethically continue to purchase and consume any AgriProcessors product? If so, why?