E-Verify Subject to Collective Bargaining
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. [Link to Ruprecht Company and UNITE HERE Local 1: https://apps.nlrb.gov/link/document.aspx/09031d45828e8e2b ]