The price of kosher poultry will be increased one cent per pound, according to a decision yesterday of Judge Otto Rosalsky, the Mayor’s mediator in the poultry difficulties, to pass on the cost of slaughtering and rabbinical supervision to the consumer.
The decision was made by Rosalsky during a heated conference of wholesalers, rabbis and shochtim in the Criminal Courts Building.
The agreement reached last week between representatives of the wholesalers and shochtim whereby the latter would be paid at one-half cent per pound was not acceptable to the wholesalers, it was reported by J. Sidney Bernstein, their counsel, at the opening of the meeting.
Instead he offered a suggestion that shochtim be paid the agreed rate of one-half cent per pound, but that they collect this from the retail butchers.
This plan was bitterly attacked by representatives of the shochtim as a scheme to force the shochtim into a fight with the butchers.
Arthur Simon, adviser to Judge Rosalsky and Health Department investigator in charge of Kashruth, pointed out that if the wholesalers pass on the cost of kosher slaughtering they will be entirely released of responsibility for kosher slaughtering.
In an impassioned address, Sam Weiner, a member of the wholesalers’ delegation, charged that the rank and file of Shochtim Union Local 440 do not want the one-half cent per pound, but that their leaders are trying to force it on them.
He accused the leaders of the union of corruption and unfairness.
“We are being persecuted by everybody,” he complained. “The press attacks us. The rabbis and the shochtim try to force costs on us that we cannot carry. We are being driven out of business.”
“Everybody takes advantage of us because we are weak,” he declared.
Judge Rosalsky announced that a committee of rabbis had visited him earlier in the day and reported to him the unanimous demand of the New York rabbinate supervision of poultry markets. The rabbis suggested an increase of one-half cent per pound to pay for the supervision.
“I will carry on an intensive campaign,” Rosalsky said, “to show the Jewish people the reason for the extra cost.”
“We welcome supervision,” said Bernstein, “but the cost must not fall on the market owners. They can’t stand it.”
Dissension between the rabbis and the shochtim arose on the question of drafting a contract. The rabbis demanded that provisions for rabbinical supervision and kosher slaughtering be included in one contract. Spokesmen for the shochtim argued for separate agreements. No decision was reached.
The suggestion was made that a committee of rabbis, wholesalers, shochtim, retailers, Judge Rosalsky and Mayor LaGuardia or his representative go to Washington to acquaint the Department of Agriculture with the state of emergency in the poultry industry.
Simon announced that he will cooperate with the wholesalers by recommending to the Health Department Permit Board today that issuance of market permits be restricted and that permits of markets which are closed be revoked. Sale of permits from one person to another will also be halted, he said.