The government had been following IFCO since a February 2005 tip to ICE that IFCO employees were observed tearing up their W-2 forms. The April 19, 2006, raid on 40 IFCO pallet plants in 26 states resulted in the detention of workers in each of those states.
Hachtman said virtually all of IFCO’s customers stayed with the company after the raids. There were no significant service interruptions and customers were supportive in allowing changes in delivery schedules and making other concessions to help IFCO fill its orders, he said in 2006.
Steve Fore, national brand manager for produce for Oakland, Calif.-based Sundia Corp., said he never noticed any sort of glitch in IFCO’s business. Sundia worked with IFCO before the 2006 raids and continues to use IFCO’s pallet services today.
“It’s been business as usual,” Fore said. “It’s surprising that they haven’t really had any glitches at all.”
Fore said Sundia plans to continue working with IFCO.
An analysis of IFCO’s payroll information by the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration suggested as many as 6,000 illegal immigrants were employed by IFCO from 2003-06. The Social Security Administration reported having given IFCO notices as early as 2000 that the company showed irregularities in the social security numbers used for many of its pallet workers.
“This settlement allows us to put this behind us,” Hachtman said. “The difficulty we’re facing day to day is the economy. That is the biggest challenge that is laid before us.”