Undocumented Workers Still Attempt To Get Work - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/16/07 - Nacogdoches

Undocumented Workers Still Attempt To Get Work

by Donna McCollum

Pilgrim's Pride has hired staffing agencies to fill hundreds of openings. Jane Castaneda-Pena is the office manager for Moore Staffing Company, one of several that has a contract with Pilgrim's.  " I have to verify that the documentation given to me is legal. If it is not, I cannot employ someone. If it is, the person can continue to go to work."

And what's happening is most applicant's files are getting the red "X" because of improper documentation. Pena pulls out a file drawer that filled almost to capacity. " This is all improper documentation. This were over 100 and something, I had to let go because of improper documentation and this is what I have working, "  said Pena.

Pena must follow strict guidelines when verifying documents. Staffing offices are sometimes audited.   A discovery was made after one of those audits. Some of the undocumented workers were slipping through the hiring process. They were pulled off the line and fired, some were previous pilgrim employees being fired a second time. Now e-verify is used. That's a work authorization program offered through the social security administration. Pena explained,  " We are logged into e-verify. If we find if they don't go through, we can't allow them to work. "

Sometimes applicants are turned away because they're recognized as being previous pilgrim employees. Also a list of new hires is checked by pilgrim's personnel as a safeguard. The end result is the file drawer of legal workers is less than half full. Pena pulls out another drawer.  " as you see it's not that many. It's about 120 maybe that I actually have working."

In a previously issued statement pilgrim's pride wrote, " it values our diverse and growing workforce". Unfortunately, the legal workforce isn't growing fast enough.  

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