Let them eat cake

That’s what many Jewish Shabbos tables will be serving this week if the reports we’re hearing about the kosher meat supply turn out to be true. But first …

Late yesterday we heard that a bunch of Jewish bigs had signed on to the Uri L’tzedek petition, which vows a boycott June 15 if Agriprocessors doesn’t commit to establishing an externally transparent department to ensure compliance with American and Jewish legal requirements concerning treatment of workers. A spokesman for UL confirmed they are in discussions with the company.

We also got a statement today, issued through the company’s PR guy, announcing that Agriprocessors would be hiring a chief compliance officer. I emailed back asking for more details about the search for a new CEO, which were supposed to be announced last week. I got this reply:

Agriprocessors has begun the process of changing the current management team and adding a Chief Executive Officer by identifying potential candidates with backgrounds necessary for this new position. We will continue to move quickly and deliberately to make this important addition to the company. In the meantime, we are moving rapidly to increase our production capacity each day so we can continue to provide our customers with the quality products they expect from Agriprocessors.

Speaking of production capacity, contrary to assurances we are getting from company spokespeople, the supply of kosher meat is beginning to be affected. Several butchers told us they were able to find other meat suppliers after Agriprocessors was unable to fill orders. But at least one kosher caterer in Florida told JTA she was running from store to store trying to find supplies, and that if Rubashkin shuts down, it will destroy her business since there are no alternatives in her area. JTA’s Sue Fishkoff will have more on this later in the week.

And finally, a piece of news we neglected to note earlier. Agriprocessors has been placing ads for new workers in a Guatemalan newspaper – NOT newspapers for the Guatemalan community in the United States, but newspapers in Guatamela. There’s a PDF of the ad over at FailedMessiah.

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