SAN JOSE, Calif. —The Justice for Mercados Workers Campaign, a coalition of community groups, said Sunday it plans to launch a boycott of Mi Pueblo Foods today until the company rescinds its decision to participate in E-Verify and "until it sticks up for its employees instead of cooperating with an I-9 audit that cannot be stopped."
Mi Pueblo, which employs a larger number of Hispanic employees, announced Friday it was undergoing an I-9 audit by the Department Homeland Security (DHS) — an audit to ascertain the legal status of new hires only, the company said late last week. However, the coalition said such audits must be suspended when a labor dispute is in progress. "Such is the case at Mi Pueblo, where an ongoing organizing drive is being conducted by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5," the coalition said in a press statement.
The coalition also questioned the veracity of the reasons Mi Pueblo gave for adopting the E-Verify program and whether or not an I-9 audit is actually taking place. "[We] will meet with DHS to verify whether an audit is being done and find out who called for it," the coalition statement said. "Further, the campaign will advise DHS that a labor dispute exists and request they act on their policy to stand down on audits when there is a labor dispute."
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