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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 06:42 PM
Original message
ICE raids Swift plants, arrests 25

http://www.themilitant.com/2007/7129/712902.html

ICE raids Swift plants, arrests 25
(front page)

BY HELEN MEYERS
AND FRANK FORRESTAL
MARSHALLTOWN, IowaImmigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested more than 25 people July 10 who worked at Swift meatpacking plants in Marshalltown, Iowa; Worthington, Minnesota; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Grand Island, Nebraska; and Greeley, Coloradothe same plants which ICE agents raided last December. Many were picked up on the job.

Braulio Pereyra, vice-president of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1149, was one of six workers arrested here in Marshalltown. The union local represents workers at the Swift plant and at the Tyson plant in nearby Perry, Iowa. Pereyra is charged with harboring illegal aliens, which carries a five-year maximum prison sentence.

Im worried about the reasons for Braulio Pereyras arrest, said Jos, a kill floor worker at the Marshalltown plant who asked his last name not be used for fear of retaliation. Many people could be picked up for what he is charged with.

ICE spokesman Tim Counts called the latest raids a continuation of the same investigation that resulted in the arrests of nearly 1,300 Swift workers in six states last December. Then, we were serving federal search warrants that permitted us to go into these plants and question every employee, he said. In this case, we were looking for specific individualsa much more focused and highly targeted operation.

The Federal Trade Commission, the Social Security Administrations Office of Inspector General, four U.S. Attorneys Offices, and two District Attorneys Offices assisted in preparing the arrests.

ICE agents also arrested Christopher Lamb, assistant director of Human Resources at the Marshalltown plant. He was charged with harboring illegal aliens and misprision of a felony, or the failure to report a felony crime.

FULL story at link.

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ORDagnabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. awesome!!! now charge the business owners and fine the absolute hell out of them!
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jcrew2001 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
12. meat factories are dangerous and should be outlawed
we can do without those factories, we can import the meat from china.
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PetrusMonsFormicarum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. Just happened in Portland, OR too
A Del Monte produce packing plant. They descended on the place as if it was some nutcase militia compund in northern Idaho. They dragged away a lot of people, men and women. Some folks' kids were left at daycares and schools wondering what happened to their parents.

This country is very, very sick.

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democratsin08 Donating Member (312 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. no
as a taxpayer i dont want to take care of mexico's problems or their kids. time to put employers in prison
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jcrew2001 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. but we'll gladly pay one buck for a burger at McD's
because these meat-factories hire cheap labor. Watch Fast Food Nation, or read the Jungle and you'll know why only immigrants have those jobs.

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Alcibiades Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. I did read the Jungle
and it seems to me that an important difference between the Lithuanians described by Sinclair and the folks rounded up by the ICE is that the Lithuanians were here legally.

In point of fact, for two generations, the meatpacking industry was dominated by native-born Americans. This was made possible by unionization, particularly in the upper midwest. Access to illegal immigrant labor is a giant stick that the bosses have used to smash workers' rights, unions, safety regulations and every standard we have set to secure some kind of decency in the American workplace.
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jcrew2001 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Yes, American Unions should work at Meat Factories
but at the same time, prices for McD's hamburgers will go up, and inflation elsewhere as well.

I won't mind it if it means more jobs for Americans.
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Alcibiades Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Not necessarily
There are other places where the cost of hiring legal workers could be absorbed. They could make up the cost by buying new, safer, more productive equipment, for example.

I always wonder why increased wages are always regarded as such a threat to the economy, but surging profits are not.

Anyway, here's a link to a 2001 NYT reproduced by poultry.org about illegal labor and the meatpacking industry.

http://www.poultry.org/labor_immigrants.htm

Of special note:

"Until 15 or 20 years ago, meatpacking plants in the United States were staffed by highly paid, unionized employees who earned about $18 an hour, adjusted for inflation. Today, the processing and packing plants are largely staffed by low-paid non- union workers from places like Mexico and Guatemala. Many of them start at $6 an hour."

I didn't notice that they cut prices on meat when they stopped paying a living wage. Where did the money go? Profits. Of course, the wages of the workers themselves largely go back to Latin America, either as remittances or through the purchase of imported good from home. The only folks who benefit are the bosses and slum lords.
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-25-07 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. "Until 15 or 20 years ago, meatpacking plants in the US were staffed by highly paid, unionized
employees who earned about $18 an hour, adjusted for inflation."

That is the key sentence. Meatpacking, and many OTHER factory jobs, used to be fairly well-paid unionized jobs.

Corporations are makng HUGE profits off the backs of illegal workers, and the American worker continues to get more and more screwed...
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Big Pappa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Maybe the assholes
will think twice before putting their kids at risk next time.
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jcrew2001 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. like risking having your arm or legs cut off at the factory?
for a minimum wage salary?
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pstans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. Swift has yet to be fined or charged
After having 1,200 workers nationwide arrested on immigration charges last December, Swift and Co. has yet to be fined or charged with anything.

The Des Moines Register had a special editorial yesterday at http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?... where it says...

Union representatives or citizens have no duty to report someone they suspect isn't legally in the United States, according to immigration attorney Lori Chesser of Des Moines.

"Union officials typically do not hire workers, so they don't have the employer-employee relationship that requires them to ask, 'Are you legal or not?' " Chesser said.

To the contrary, unions believe they are bound by law to represent all workers in the Marshalltown Swift plant.

"As elected representatives of the workers at Swift and elsewhere, we are legally responsible to represent those workers," Cashen said. "We can't discriminate. We can't pass judgment on who we will or won't represent."


http://commoniowan.blogspot.com/
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jcrew2001 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. i don't think they will shut down the meat-factory
there is just too many businesses relying on that product. Plus, no americans want to work there.
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jcrew2001 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. Why can't they hire americans at meat-packing plants?
or are they too afraid to get their limbs cut-off, ouch.

Besides, those places stink - my pops use to own a meat distributor. Fortunately, all i did was move boxes of meat, never did the cutting.
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Alcibiades Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #4
14. They could certainly hire Americans
But Americans want things like a fair wage and unions to do that kind of work. If you hire someone illegally, you don't have to worry about them reporting you to OSHA.

There are no jobs Americans won't do. For the right price, we will eat cockroaches or sell our kidneys. It's all about big profits for big corporations.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
5. Wow! They arrested ONE manager! What a startling departure from the norm!
"ICE agents also arrested Christopher Lamb, assistant director of Human Resources at the Marshalltown plant. He was charged with harboring illegal aliens and misprision of a felony, or the failure to report a felony crime."

Color me shocked!
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jcrew2001 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. i guess no americans wanted those jobs
have you watched "fast food nation" - there's a reason no sane person wants a meat factory job.

Read "The jungle" and see why they hired polish immigrants to do the job. Its the welcome to america job.
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