Illegal Immigration May Be at Issue in Jonesboro Plant's Woes - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR - Tiffany Blankenship reports

Illegal Immigration May Be at Issue in Jonesboro Plant's Woes

MAY 11, 2005 - Posted at 4:29 p.m. CDT


JONESBORO, AR - One of Jonesboro's largest employers has just lost nearly fifty employees, and it didn't happen as a result of layoffs.

It's a dispute that management at Great Dane Trailers says is still being internally investigated.  "There was a rumor that got started that there was a layoff, and that's not true," said plant manager Larry Chipman, who arrived at work Wednesday morning to a bit of a surprise.  "There was a note that some folks went home last night, quite a few, and there seems to be some kind of dispute going on."

The employees that walked off the night shift may be illegal immigrants.  A current Great Dane employee says the issues arose when management discovered that some employees had given company officials fraudulent Social Security numbers.  "They told them that if they didn't bring proof of their real Social Security, that they weren't going to pay them," said Remigio Mondragon.  Mondragon said most of the employees in question could not verify that any of their Social Security information was accurate.  "Several people just left because they didn't have Social Security, real Social Security, so they had to go," added Mondragon.

Mondragon, who has been employed by Great Dane for four months, said he doesn't understand why the employees had not been asked for proper identification verification before.  "They just asked me for my ID and Social Security number.  That's it."

But Chipman defended his company's method of background checks.  "We do all the appropriate paperwork.  Whatever the dispute is, we're going to let the attorneys handle it," Chipman said.

Chipman says he plans to contact all of the employees that walked off the job.

Great Dane manufactures truck trailers, primarily for 18-wheelers.


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