WASHINGTON – PLNA, AmericanHort and PLANET joined with other seasonal workforce industries to urge legislators in Washington to fix the H-2B guest worker program.
Many companies in the landscape contracting segment of the green industry rely upon the H-2B program to meet peak seasonal workforce demands. Recent developments have left many companies high and dry.
Several weeks ago the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the H-2B cap had been reached for the first half of the fiscal year. Many in the landscape industry will not get their workers until later this spring, if at all.
The Department of Labor (DOL) in December announced that employers may no longer use wage surveys to calculate appropriate wage levels for seasonal workers in their local geographic area. This action puts H-2B wage rates far above the prevailing wage rates in many areas.
In a letter to Congressional appropriators, the coalition of seasonal workforce employers requested that Congress fix the H-2B program in conjunction with the Department of homeland Security appropriation.
Specifically, the letter requested that Congress reinstate the H-2B returning worker exemption that was in place from 2005 through 2007. The coalition also requested that Congress direct the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor (DOL) to resume allowing employers to use wage surveys to calculate appropriate wage levels.