DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Workforce Development, the state's labor agency, has fined Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa almost $10 million for alleged wage violations, the largest in the state’s history.

Labor Commissioner Dave Neil reportedly assessed the civil penalties against the kosher meat processor for what he called repeated violations of Iowa's wage laws from January 2006 to June 2008.

The labor agency spent months before and after a massive May 12 immigration raid examining internal company documents, agency spokeswoman Kerry Koonce reportedly told the press. Documents included time sheets, payroll and wage stubs, she said.

The penalties include $339,700 for the alleged illegal deduction of "sales tax/miscellaneous" costs nearly 3,400 times; $9.6 million for illegally deducting money from 2,001 employees for protective clothing more than 96,000 times; and failing to pay 42 employees their last paychecks on May 16 and May 23, following the immigration raid.

An Agriprocessors spokesman didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment from media. The company has 30 days to contest the proposed fines.

The fine is the latest problem for the processor, which in the past year has been the target of immigration raids and allegations of violations both of labor safety regulations and child labor laws.


Source: Associated Press