Former Agriprocessors supervisor testifies Rubashkin knew of child labor - USA

By Ann Bagel Storck on 5/12/2010
Sholom Rubashkin, the former Agriprocessors executive who faces 83 child labor charges in a trial that began in Waterloo, Iowa, Monday, knew there were minors working at his kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, a former Agriprocessors supervisor testified Tuesday, according to media reports.

Matthew Derrick said he discussed the matter of children working in the facility with two plant managers as well as Rubashkin but that Rubashkin "didn't seem to want to solve the problem."

In cross-examination, Derrick said he didn't tell USDA inspectors at the plant about the situation and did not bring it up with government investigators until months after the May 2008 Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at the Agriprocessors facility.

The testimony followed disturbing details offered by prosecutors Monday about workers as young as 13 working 16-hour days six days a week in hazardous conditions, such as when oversized frocks caught on belts and dragged them down the line.

Rubashkin's attorneys, meanwhile, contended that underage workers lied about their age and used fake documents to gain employment, while Rubashkin did not oversee hiring and was not aware of conditions on the line.