Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s "dismayed" about the latest charges of child labor law violations against the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville. Agriprocessors had denied allegations that it knowingly allowed underage workers into the plant, but Harkin, a Democrat, says he doesn’t believe the denials.
Harkin says it’s unconscionable that children were working in the plant in hazardous conditions, working 12-15 hours a day, "And don’t tell me, don’t tell me that the owners of that plant and the managers didn’t know, they knew what was going on."
Harkin says the latest allegations and the immigration raid on the plant in May show the need for stiffer fines and penalties against businesses that violate immigration and child labor law.
On another topic, Harkin says he expects former President Bill Clinton to deliver a message of unity at the Democratic convention, despite the talk of friction between Obama and Clinton. Harkin says Bill Clinton is a "pro" and will rise to the occasion.
"And I’m sure that he will give a speech that will bring disparate things together in the party, and try to unify the party, I’m sure he’ll do that," Harkin says. Harkin says he also hopes former President Jimmy Carter will be offered a prime time slot during the convention because of Carter’s work on human rights. Harkin made his comments on the Iowa Public Radio Program "The Exchange."