A San Francisco Bay Area foundry fired 200 workers over three months based on results of a Department of Homeland Security audit.
Pacific Steel Casting Co. in Berkeley, Calif., a specialty casting heavy manufacturer, fired a third of its workforce after DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement in February demanded the Form I-9 for all 600 workers. Pacific Steel complied with DHS demands “and then the union did everything it could to prevent these terminations, and part of that was alleging there were ongoing labor negotiations.
The workers are represented by Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics, and Allied Workers Union Local 164B, which reached agreement last March with Pacific Steel on a four-year contract. A
union representative could not be reached for comment.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California; the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics, and Allied Workers International Union and GMP Local 164B; the Service Employees
International Union-United Service Workers West; and the weekly independent San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper in September filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking records relating to I-9 audits.
The groups allege a lack of transparency on the “silent raids’’ and contend that the government has targeted unionized workplaces. They are seeking records from actual workplace
investigations in California and aggregate data regarding arrests and other immigration actions taken against employees identified through worksite actions from January 2009 to the present.
Employers under the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act are required to use DHS’s Form I-9 to document employment eligibility and can be held criminally liable for violations.
In fiscal year 2011, ICE criminally charged a record-breaking 221 owners, employers, managers and/or supervisors, up from 196 in FY 2010. ICE conducted more than 2,496 I-9 audits, up from 2,196 in FY 2010. The agency also initiated 3,291 worksite enforcement investigations, up from 2,748 in FY 2010. 01.11.2012