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Thread: Canton business at center of ICE raid was fined $211,000

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Canton business at center of ICE raid was fined $211,000

    Canton business at center of ICE raid was fined $211,000 by OSHA for workplace safety problems

    Updated Jun 25, 1:17 PM; Posted Jun 25, 12:46 PM


    ICE agents arrested 146 people at the Fresh Mark packaging plant in Salem. (Evan Macdonald, cleveland.com)

    By Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com
    aferrise@cleveland.com

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Federal officials levied more than $200,000 in fines against a Canton-based meat packaging company, including extra penalties for repeated violations, less than two weeks before immigration agents arrested 146 people in a yearlong investigation into the hiring of undocumented immigrants.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the fines to Fresh Mark in the wake of a December death of an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant working at the facility.


    OSHA added other fines after workers had body parts ripped off by working with either unsafe equipment or in unsafe conditions.


    OSHA handed down the fines on June 11, less than two weeks before Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided the business and arrested 146 people.


    A spokeswoman for Fresh Mark, Brittany Julian, said in a statement that they are reviewing the citations.


    "Fresh Mark has fully cooperated with OSHA and will continue our working relationship with the administration going forward," the statement said. "Fresh Mark has a long-standing commitment to the health and safety of our workforce. Safety is a primary core value at all of our facilities."


    The fines

    The fines stem from three different incidents at the company's various plants, including the death of Domingo Ramos, a 49-year-old undocumented Guatemalan who worked at the company's Canton plant.

    Ramos' foot got caught in a meat-grinding auger. The auger ripped off the bottom part of his right leg and dragged it 15 feet, according to Stark County Coroner records.


    When Ramos was brought to the coroner's office, however, Fresh Mark gave investigators documents that said Ramos' name was Samuel Martinez, the coroner's report said. Ramos' family gave his real name to the coroner's office while trying to ensure his body was sent back to Guatemala for burial.


    The coroner sent his fingerprints to ICE, who identified him as Ramos through immigration arrest records, the report says. The report said ICE told the investigators he was supposed to have been deported and that he was last known to live in New Orleans.


    OSHA inspectors also found during that inspection that Fresh Mark was allowing employees to use a corroded and unsafe ladder.


    They also issued the most serious fine against the company-- a repeat violator citation that added more than $71,000 to the fine.


    Inspectors reported that Fresh Mark failed to routinely inspect the area where Ramos died and never ensured safety protocols were followed, according to OSHA records.


    Another part of the citation stemmed from an OSHA inspection that found employees uniforms were putting them at risk of getting their sleeves caught in machines.


    Fresh Mark previously cited for safety issues


    The company was cited for a May 9, 2017 incident at the Massillon plant where an employee's left index finger was amputated as he cleaned a bacon vacuum machine and went to remove a piece of meat hanging from the conveyor belt, according to OSHA. The employee inadvertently removed a safety guard, turned on the machine and had his finger ripped off.


    Another Guatemalan native died at the same plant in 2011. Marcos Perez-Velasquez, 20, died Sept. 8, 2011.


    He was working at the plant as a sanitation crew member. He hosed down part of the part of the plant and brought a fan in to dry the water, according to OSHA records. He wasn't wearing gloves or any protective gear and was electrocuted when he plugged in the fan, according to OSHA.


    In another case in 2009, an employee had two fingers amputated after he reached into a pepperoni wrapping machine to clear a jam, OSHA said.


    Prior accusations of undocumented workers

    An ex-employee of Fresh Mark sued the company in 2001 and said the company knowingly hired undocumented immigrants and that employees often forged documents on behalf of workers.

    The lawsuit said the company made fake Social Security cards and Ohio identification cards. The company would find places for the workers to live and give them transportation to and from the plants, the lawsuit said.


    Human resources employees would falsify employee verification documents. The ex-employee said she notified a supervisor, who did nothing. She also reported the company to Immigration and Naturalization Services. She was fired shortly after, the lawsuit says.


    The claims in the lawsuit mirror some of the accusations that ICE said led to the June 19 raid at the company's Salem plant. ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls said in a statement that the yearlong investigation revolved around undocumented workers at the plant using forged Social Security cards.


    No formal charges have been filed in that case and Fresh Mark previously said they are cooperating with ICE's investigation.

    https://www.cleveland.com/metro/inde...ne_agains.html

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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    MW
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    Wow, $200,000 to a company like this is a pittance! The fine should have been 2 million and those responsible for hiring the illegals should be prosecuted and sent to prison! According to the article this is the third time the company has had a run in with federal law enforcement over the hiring of illegal aliens.
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