Posted at 12:47 PM on May 29, 2008
by Jeff Horwich
We just got off the line with Stephen Bloom, a journalism prof down in Iowa City who -- several years ago -- wrote a book about the kosher meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa that suffered a huge immigration raid earlier this month. It was a long but terrific interview. He's got a passion and depth of experience with the place that would be hard to find anywhere else.
This is a remarkable story, which has gotten only scattered coverage outside Iowa -- which is why I wanted us to look into it. Not only did the feds finally bust open a situation pretty much everybody in Northeast Iowa knew about, but (if gov't affidavits and first-hand press accounts are any guide) the fingers of wrong-doing seem to extend deep into the company management. This could get very interesting. (Or....not. Prof. Bloom isn't optimistic the company will actually face much penalty in the end.)
The initial development is the workers getting slammed (five months in jail before deportation). But there are reasons to think the company might be next, and the details are dramatic. If you want to read up, the Des Moines Register has been doing excellent coverage, as has the closest local paper, the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.
We'll have our interview with Stephen Bloom featured on tomorrow's show. I've got a call out to the company for comment -- nothing yet. They haven't been saying much in the press so far.