tags: Press Releases

Online Ad Campaign Shines a Spotlight on Agriprocessors’ Labor Abuses

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Calls on Publix Supermarkets to Pull Company’s Product from Shelves

Washington, DC – A new online ad campaign by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and America’s Voice shines a light on the fact that the managers of the notorious Agriprocessors meatpacking plant have yet to be charged in conjunction with the largest immigration raid in U.S. history, despite a sickening record of worker abuse and exploitation. As the groups’ campaign makes clear, the Bush Administration’s enforcement priorities are deeply skewed. Despite strong evidence of labor, immigration, and criminal law violations at the plant, the government has let Agriprocessors owners and managers off the hook, while targeting its exploited employees for criminal trials and deportation.

The ads outline the Agriprocessors story and encourage Publix Supermarkets to remove the company’s product from its stores’ shelves. Publix continues to stock Agriprocessors items despite many allegations of grotesque physical abuses of employees, supervisors’ demands for sexual favors, and numerous health and safety violations against the company, many of which were detailed in the government’s own affidavit for a search warrant before the raid.

“The heart-wrenching stories of flagrant mistreatment and abuse by Agriprocessors, ranging from child labor violations to sexual exploitation by supervisors, should provoke anger in every American,” said Mark Lauritsen, International Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). “The fact that this company refuses to accept responsibility for its actions, and is instead lashing out at the media and calling government officials liars, shows that this company and its management will never change the way they operate unless they are punished for their reprehensible actions.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the immigration reform group America’s Voice, “Agriprocessors is the poster child for what is wrong with our nation’s immigration strategy under President Bush. To allow a flagrant abuser of workers to continue to operate without penalty, while we prosecute and deport its former employees, is criminal. The company must be held accountable for abusing workers, and Congress must fix our broken immigration system so that immigrant workers can report exploitation without fear of deportation.”

The online ad campaign will run on popular political web sites and blogs accessed by over 16,000,000 viewers a week.

The call to action from UFCW and America’s Voice echoes Congressional demands for answers about the government’s handling of Agriprocessors from Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representatives Bruce Braley (D-IA), Phil Hare (D-IL), George Miller (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and John Conyers (D-MI).

To view the UFCW/America’s Voice ads, please go to: http://www.democraticunderground.com

For more information on Agriprocessors and the company’s labor and other violations, please see: www.eyeonagriprocessors.org