Union's rebuke of contractor falters

Union's rebuke of contractor falters

September 4th, 2009 by Mike Pare in Business

A union on Thursday claimed a company selected to help build the Volkswagen auto assembly plant is under investigation by federal and state officials, but later said it doesn't have documentation.

Tom Owens, director of communications for the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department, said in an e-mail Thursday morning a company picked to work on the Chattanooga plant is being investigated by federal and state authorities over possible employment of undocumented workers.

Mr. Owens said the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the district attorney's office in Albany, N.Y., are gathering information pertaining to the employment practices of the company, which it identified as C.P. Buckner Inc. of North Carolina.

But Mr. Owens said Thursday afternoon he didn't have documentation of an investigation but is working to get it from an ironworkers union source.

A representative for the company would not comment, but said its president may do so later.

Barbara Gonzalez, Southern regional communications director for ICE, said that as a matter of policy, it does not confirm or deny existence of an investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Albany County District Attorney's Office said she wasn't familiar with the company. The New York Attorney General's office did not return phone calls Thursday.

VW spokeswoman April Wortham said the automaker had no comment.

In the past, VW has said that it is federal law and a requirement to do business with Volkswagen that all contractors and subcontractors must maintain legal documentation for workers on the site.

It has said all of its contractors and subcontractors have confirmed in writing that all of their workers are documented.