Swift to lose $30 million from raids

Swift & Co. said on Jan. 4 that a series of Dec. 12 immigration raids at its six of seven meatpacking plants nationwide are expected to cost the company $30 million. Swift, the nation’s third-largest processor of fresh beef and pork, said it has hired hundreds of new workers to replace employees who were detained, incurring about $10 million in hiring incentives and worker-retention efforts. The company expects to lose $20 million more in lost operating efficiency as workers are trained. Swift is operating on all shifts but likely won’t “return to a state of normalcy” until the end of this year, said Don Wiseman, the company’s general counsel. “We might have the warm bodies back, but they do not represent the same efficiency and skill level we had on the morning of Dec. 12,” he said. (Denver Post, Jan. 5) The nearly 1,300 workers arrested in the raids amounted to about 9% of the company’s work force. Swift’s two main rivals, Cargill and Tyson, ramped up their production after the raids. (Rocky Mountain News, Jan. 5)

A contract dated Dec. 4 between ICE and the Iowa National Guard indicates that ICE was prepared to house up to 1,100 workers arrested in the Dec. 12 raids for as many as 10 nights at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, just north of Des Moines. That level of use would have cost ICE $32,000, but the site was used for fewer days in December and housed about 500 people detained during the Dec. 12 raids at Swift & Co. meatpacking plants in Marshalltown, Iowa, and in five other states. Officials at Camp Dodge said they had not finished invoicing ICE for actual services used. The contract, which Guard officials were barred from discussing without permission from ICE, showed that ICE reserved access to communications support, cleaning services, beds and 1,100 sets of linens. Camp Dodge was not asked to provide food. “We brought in our own food,” said ICE spokesperson Jamie Zuieback. Zuieback said the contract appears to contradict claims by Gov. Tom Vilsack and Iowa National Guard Maj. Gen. Ron Dardis that they were not adequately informed of the size and scope of the raid. (Marshalltown Times Republican, Jan. 2 from AP)

From Immigration News Briefs, Jan. 5

See our last post on the Swift raids and the immigration crackdown.