No sure answers for Agriprocessors workers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

No sure answers for Agriprocessors workers

By Lauren Squires

POSTVILLE (KWWL) -- Even as the plant reopens, workers at Agriprocessors still have more questions than answers. After weeks of no paychecks and no job, workers hoped to get answers at a meeting Wednesday night with the bankruptcy trustee of the company. Unfortunately, most left tonight's meeting with more questions.

"As many of you know, we have submitted a budget to bankruptcy court and the company's main bank has provided us with limited financing," Joe Sarachek, Agriprocessors bankruptcy trustee, told the crowd in Postville.

It's limited financing that opened Agriprocessors Wednesday morning. Limited funds mean a limited workforce.

"They need people to work, well put me to work," said William Smith, an Agriprocessors worker. "I want to help the company but they don't want to help themselves."

"Well tell me where I'm supposed to go and what I'm supposed to do," said Agriprocessors worker Nancy Axe. "You tell me and I'll do it."

As Agriprocessors trustee addressed the angry crowd, the answers were not what people in Postville wanted to hear.

First, Saracheck submitted a budget to bankruptcy court. Then, the court provided limited funding through next Friday. That means, for now, the plant will process chickens on limited staff, allowing back pay for those who've been called back to work.

"Throughout this period, we will be talking to new buyers about purchasing the existing operation," said Sarachek.

As for those who didn't get called back to work, they have to file a claim through bankruptcy court to get paid.

"I said I was going to ride this wagon until the wheels fall off and when they fall off, I'm going to carry it down the road," said Axe.

The road will continue for at least two more months. Saracheck hopes by then the plant will be sold. If the company is sold, workers will be paid at that time.

Thursday afternoon, Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge will hold a community meeting at 1:30 pm at Turner Hall in Postville. She will review available state programs and other ways to help people struggling with the Agriprocessors issues.

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