THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Friday, June 7, 1996 TAG: 9606070550 SECTION: BUSINESS PAGE: D1 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY LON WAGNER, STAFF WRITER LENGTH: 44 lines
Six alleged illegal aliens were arrested Thursday morning while working for the contractor that is building the parallel span to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, an Immigration and Naturalization Service official said.
The arrests come amid accusations from several Hampton Roads unions that the joint venture contractor, PCL/Hardaway/Interbeton, has refused to hire local union workers and is paying substandard wages.
William Bittner, the officer in charge of the Norfolk office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said the INS decided to inspect the contractor's records after an alien's arrest this weekend led them to the company. Bittner was not sure of the nature of the arrest.
The workers gave PCL/Hardaway/Interbeton fraudulent documents, Bittner said.
``The company did not know they were fraudulent and would not have had any way to know,'' Bittner said. ``Frankly, the company was quite cooperative.''
Four Mexicans who were arrested have volunteered to return to Mexico, Bittner said. One resident of El Salvador was released on his own recognizance, and the sixth person who was arrested, believed to be a Guatemalan citizen, has requested a hearing by an immigration judge, Bittner said.
Several unions last month announced a boycott of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to pressure the bridge-tunnel commission to act against PCL/Hardaway.
Leonard V. Hughes, regional director of the International Union of Operating Engineers, said the arrests confirm the unions' contention that PCL/Hardaway is not hiring local workers.
``We're going to continue our efforts,'' Hughes said. ``This just goes to show they're not going out of their way to hire local people. They're not going out of their way to hire Americans.''
Joint venture Chairman Robert W. Fouty wrote in a letter last month that 193 of 197 hourly employees working on the project were from Hampton Roads and surrounding communities.
KEYWORDS: ILLEGAL ALIENS CHESAPEAKE BAY BRIDGE TUNNEL
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