Author Topic: Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa  (Read 6118 times)

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Offline larsonstdoc

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Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa
« on: May 07, 2010, 11:11:23 am »
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20100507/NEWS10/5070361/Ruling-Henry-s-cheated-workers-at-Atalissa-turkey-plant

  Two things I really hate--crimes against children and crimes against the mentally challenged.


Ruling: Henry's cheated workers at Atalissa turkey plant

Henry's Turkey Service shortchanged its mentally retarded workers by at least $1 million and subjected the men to abuse and humiliating forms of discipline, a federal agency has found.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the Texas labor broker acted with malice or reckless indifference in committing numerous major violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, resulting in significant harm to the workers and "substantial economic benefits" to the company.


"What happened to the men employed by Henry's Turkey Service at West Liberty Foods is nothing short of horrific," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., said Thursday. "And what is particularly galling is that it was allowed to continue for so long. The EEOC appears to have documented a level of abuse more extreme than can be imagined in this day and age."

The EEOC findings could result in compensatory damages to make up for the workers' unpaid wages, or in punitive damages.
"I'm ecstatic about this because it means people are going to be held accountable," said Sherri Brown, the Arkansas sister of former bunkhouse resident Keith Brown. "The company took advantage of these men, and maybe now all of the other investigating agencies out there will step up to the plate and start doing something."

One of the company's owners, Kenneth Henry of Proctor, Texas, declined to comment Thursday on the findings. Over the past year, however, he has said the company is innocent of any wrongdoing.
For most of the past 34 years, Henry's acted as a labor broker, placing mentally retarded Texas men in labor camps around the country where they worked for sub-minimum wages. In Atalissa, Henry's housed at least 65 disabled men in an old bunkhouse and paid them 41 cents an hour to slaughter turkeys at the West Liberty Foods plant.

In February 2009, The Des Moines Register asked state officials about the bunkhouse, its lack of a care-facility license and the workers' wages. A dozen government agencies launched an immediate investigation, declared the bunkhouse unsafe and "deplorable," and relocated the 21 men still living there.
The commission's investigation focused on allegations that Henry's and its affiliate, Hill Country Farms, repeatedly violated the Atalissa workers' rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Among the findings:

- Henry's collected up to $11,000 per week from West Liberty Foods as payment for the men's labor at the plant. Henry's then paid dozens of workers a combined total of $340 to $500 per week. Over the last three years of the company's operation, Henry's underpaid the men by at least $1 million, based solely on minimum-wage violations.
- The men's net pay for working at West Liberty Foods averaged 41 cents an hour, despite the fact that they often performed at a level equal to able-bodied workers who earned $9 to $12 an hour. When that is taken into account, the amount of underpaid wages is even greater than the $1 million attributed to minimum-wage violations.

- Henry's employees were subjected to a hostile work environment that included "verbal and physical abuse because of their mental disabilities." The men were "continually subjected to taunts, name-calling, humiliation and other offensive verbal conduct and mistreatment based upon their disability."
- Henry's restricted the men's contact with others and subjected them to "unusual, excessively harsh and often humiliating disciplinary actions." The company also failed to provide the men with "adequate access to medical care, all while taking advantage" of the men's vulnerable state.

- Although Henry's paid just $600 per month to rent the bunkhouse from the city of Atalissa, the company made roughly $10,000 worth of deductions from workers' paychecks each month for housing.
Sylvia Piper of Iowa Protection and Advocacy, an agency that advocates for the disabled, said the EEOC's findings are consistent with those of her own investigators.

"Even the term 'slave labor' doesn't fully describe what those men endured for the past 34 years," Piper said. "These EEOC findings are definitely what we have been waiting for. Now I think we need to hear from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, as well as the FBI, about their criminal investigations."
Under federal law, once the EEOC determines that the rights of disabled workers have been violated, it must attempt to halt the violations through an informal process of "conference, conciliation and persuasion." The commission plans to send a proposed conciliation agreement - a settlement of sorts - to Henry's owners. If the owners reject the proposed settlement and refuse to negotiate, the EEOC has the option of taking the company to court.

EEOC officials declined to comment on the agency's findings, but said that a conciliation agreement in such a case could include demands for compensatory damages to make up for workers' lost wages or punitive damages designed to penalize companies for past violations.
Harkin said he hopes federal officials will continue to pursue the matter.

"It is my hope that the EEOC and the Department of Labor ... will act quickly to obtain financial security and at least a small measure of justice for these men," he said.

Muscatine County Sheriff David White said recently that he is confident the people who ran Henry's Turkey Service treated the bunkhouse residents well.

"Our take on it was, you know, that they were doing some pretty good things with these guys," he said.
I'M A DEPLORABLE KNUCKLEHEAD THAT SUPPORTS PRESIDENT TRUMP.  MAY GOD BLESS HIM AND KEEP HIM SAFE.

Offline hal 9000

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Re: Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2010, 12:15:22 pm »
It's amazing that these things can happen in America. This is how all blue collar people are to be treated in the future. We are being turned into indentured servants with no rights.

Offline Monkeypox

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Re: Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2010, 12:31:56 pm »
It's amazing that these things can happen in America. This is how all blue collar people are to be treated in the future. We are being turned into indentured servants with no rights.

Just look at China to see what the American worker's future will be.
War Is Peace - Freedom Is Slavery - Ignorance Is Strength


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Re: Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2010, 01:24:47 pm »
Yep, that's just what we have to do in this "service based economy" to remain competitive.  ;D What did you think Clinton meant when he said "service based economy"?  Indentured servitude was what he, and the rest of the elites we all work for had in mind with this "globalization" race to the bottom.

Offline rawiron1

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Re: Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2010, 02:07:11 pm »
Services cost money.  So when everyone is broke how can a "service econ" be supported?

Jason
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Re: Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2010, 04:35:51 pm »
Well if the rich do not need your services then you can starve. Besides they think there are too many of us anyway.

Offline Monkeypox

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Re: Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2010, 05:09:02 pm »
Did they get you Larson?

 ;)
War Is Peace - Freedom Is Slavery - Ignorance Is Strength


"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

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Offline decemberfellow

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Re: Crimes Against Mentally Retarded People in Iowa
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2010, 06:46:01 pm »
I work at an industry that employs mentally challenged people.  The business is state funded and the people are treated exceptionally well. They all have caretakers which are responsible for them.They do have to follow rules and they get paid for there service.  Some of the work is paid by piece work , other jobs they are paid at minimum wage. Also these people are limited on what they can earn. In my department I have to stop them from working if they exceed there goal, because it would mess up there benefits. . They love the work and are a family.  Larson , in the case you are talking about it seems as if the state is lacking legislation involving people with disabilities.  I am glad the company got caught! To take advantage of the handicapped is truly a disgrace.
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