Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How does Jack DeCoster get away with it?

For those who've been following my coverage of the infamous egg magnate Jack DeCoster -- and proposed legislation to deny his workers the right to collective bargaining here in Maine -- my story for Down East has just posted over at their website.

As reported here yesterday, the bill in question has lost a key supporter, labor committee co-chair Sen. Chris Rector (R-Thomaston), who is upset that his committee was given less than candid testimony in regards to the DeCoster companies' safety record. The bill was scheduled for a full vote in the Maine House today, but at last report appeared to have been pulled from the line-up.

For those who like to study source materials themselves, there's the August 2010 Food and Drug Administration site inspection report for one of the DeCoster's Iowa farms implicated in the nationwide salmonella outbreak; the Congressional hearings on said outbreak; and Maine Public Broadcasting's report on worker's allegations at DeCoster's Maine farms from this past April 2011.

[Update, 5/25/2011: An additional update to the piece: Mercy for Animals' director of investigations, Daniel Hauff, says DeCoster spokesperson Chris Grimbilas is misinformed about events in Texas (which he put forward as evidence that his companies got the "short end of the stick.")

"No charges or arrests have ever occurred for any Mercy For Animals investigator, as we follow all laws, including recording laws, and use our real information when obtaining employment at factory farms and slaughter facilities," Hauff said.]

1 comment:

  1. I worked for Decoster over 20 years ago as a fresh animal science graduate. jack made multi millions of dollars treating his employees, customers, and poultry like crap. He never realized how much more he would have made if he followed basic husbandry i.e. chickens produce more high quality eggs if they are housed in clean, stress free, disease free conditions and fed a quality diet. He did just the opposite. Most of his employees worked against him since he treated them so bad. I saw amazing things while there until I had to leave for ethical reasons. He was the most intimidating scoundrel I've ever known, worked 16 hours a day 6 days a week screwing folks then washed away his sins by attending the church he built on Sundays. The man is ruthless and that is the legacy he'll leave. He manipulated the USDA inspectors, controlled egg prices by his operations size and huge volume production eliminating competition. There is enough chicken manure spread on his corn fields in the Turner area to last 50 years which is why most of the water wells in that area are contaminated. He still continues to buy his way out of trouble. Wonder how he sleeps at night?