CORRECTED: Crunch Pak plant hit by immigration audit - The Packer

CORRECTED: Crunch Pak plant hit by immigration audit

05/14/2014 05:52:00 PM
Mike Hornick

Crunch Pak(CORRECTED May 16) An audit of Crunch Pak by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has prompted the company to require some employees to resubmit the form documenting their work authorization — or face termination.

Cashmere, Wash.-based Crunch Pak notified the employees in their May 9 paychecks. They have until May 19 to provide a corrected or updated federal I-9 form.

About 900 work at the plant. The company isn’t reporting how many received the notices. Production will be unaffected, spokeswoman Amy Philpott said, but the experience is motivating Crunch Pak to speed up its move toward automation.

“The company was notified in late August that it was selected for a random, routine review of its I-9 documentation on file,” Philpott said. At a company-wide meeting in September, employees were notified. In early May at another such meeting, they were informed ICE found mismatches between the Crunch Pak documents and information on file at the Social Security Administration.

Mismatch causes, Philpott said, can include misspellings, number transpositions and changes in name. Crunch Pak’s human resources office has extended its hours and provided bilingual staff to help collect the forms.

“In cases like this, there can be employees who do not correct their forms,” she said. “Of course we want them all to, so we’re extending hours and making sure help is available.”

“We fully expect to be able to meet customer demand,” she said. “A couple of factors are in play. The company has been in a continual growth mode for the last several years, so they’ve been hiring on a regular basis. And their long-term strategy involves automating their production facility. This has just sped that up or made that automation happen a little faster.”

The Associated Press quoted an employee who said 90% of her colleagues got the notices.

“Any number at this point is speculation,” Philpott said. “We have not released any official number.”

“This week Crunch Pak had the difficult task of informing employees with mismatched I-9 forms that, by law, they would have to amend their paperwork,” chief executive officer Scott Sargent said in a statement on the company’s website. “The company wants to and must comply with the law, and deeply regrets the stress that this situation can place on employees, especially on those directly impacted.”

“All employees provide us with I-9 paperwork when they are hired,” according to the statement. “We trust and value our employees, and hope all those affected will submit amended forms and be allowed to stay with us.”

Note on correction: The original story misidentified one of the mismatch causes.



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