A former Postville city councilman says the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville could soon be expanding its workforce. The northeast Iowa plant was the focus of an immigration raid last year that led to bankruptcy and for a time was operated by the federal government. A company with Canadian ties called S-H-F Industries bought the plant in July.
Aarron Goldsmith recently co-authored a book about Postville and the immigration raid and says the future of the plant and community is bright. “The community is still undersized compared to where it used to be, but it is stable right now and that’s a positive thing,” goldsmith says. Part of the bright future includes plans to expand at the meat processing plant.
“We see that they’re looking into adding a beef line and that could bring quite a few more jobs into the town and it looks like they’re going to do that in a slow and careful way which I think is healthier for Postville,” Goldmsith says. He says the company is also considering bringing in the U.S. Department of Labor to help with developing safety standards which he says was a failure and criticism of the previous operators.
Goldsmith says Agriprocessors will probably never return to having one thousand workers as it did before the raid. The plant currently employs about three hundred and only processes poultry. Former plant executive Sholom Rubashkin is facing federal charges including bank fraud and harboring illegal immigrants. He is scheduled to go on trial next month in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.