While I-9 compliance is important, companies cannot forget about other labor and employment laws. In May 2018, a meatpacking company in Illinois was caught between ICE and the National Labor Relations Board.

ICE conducted an audit of the company’s I-9s. Upon notice of the audit, the company began implementing E-Verify. An NLRB judge ruled that the company violated the National Labor Relations Act by:

  • Transferring work to temporary staffing agency workers without first notifying the union;
  • Dealing directly with the terminated employees regarding severance;
  • Failing to provide the requested documents to the union; and, importantly,
  • Unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of employment by instituting E-Verify without bargaining.

On August 27, 2018, a three-member NLRB panel upheld this decision (even though the union eventually agreed to the use of E-Verify through collective bargaining). The panel stated:

The [company’s] unilateral action compromised the Union’s ability, and the [company’s] incentive, to engage in that give-and-take process with respect to E-Verify by changing the starting point for bargaining. Once the [company] enrolled in the program, it had the greater leverage. The Union was placed in the position of offering concessions to persuade the [company] to restore the status quo and quit the program.

If you have questions about signing up for E-Verify or any other immigration issues in a union environment, please reach out to your Jackson Lewis attorney.