Agriprocessors workers go to emergency shelter
DECORAH, Iowa – Workers from the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville, Iowa have gone to a skating rink for shelter after gas and heat were turned off at their homes in Postville.
Media reports said that utilities for many of the company’s employees were shut off on Friday.
The local chapter of the American Red Cross has reportedly asked for donations of food, drinks and bedding to the Jewel Skate Country rink. Reports said about 20 people, including Paluans brought in to work at the kosher meat processor, were taking shelter at the rink.
Groups and volunteers reported they were receiving requests for rides to nearby cities to catch buses in an effort to go back home or find new jobs.
Media said that workers from American Samoa and Palau are returning home, but the flight to the Pacific islands is not until Jan. 1, 2009, forcing them to emergency shelter.
Gabay Menachem, proprietor of GAL Investments, told the press that Alliant Energy turned off the utilities after he requested that it bill renters, not his company. The company, which owns about 150 rental properties in Postville, has reportedly defaulted on loans with two local banks.
Media reports also said that employees had not received paychecks on Friday and were told they would receive them on Monday.
The issue is the latest crisis to hit Postville since a May 12 immigration raid on the Agriprocessors plant, the biggest kosher meat processor in the country. Since then, the company faced state and federal allegations that it violated child labor laws and broke safety rules and filed for bankruptcy protection.
Source: Associated Press