H2b - a better understanding

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by TPnTX, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    You may think that because you don't rely on H2B workers that this won't affect you. This is going to hurt the economy and small business across the country.

    It's election year mismanagent of out country like has never been seen before.

    While Congress is considering legislation to stimulate the slumping economy, it should also consider a short-term fix for the H-2B guest-worker program. By extending the returning worker exemption on the H-2B program, which expired at the end of fiscal year 2007, Congress will help many American small businesses avoid economic devastation by extending a provision that has been enacted for the last several years. Guest workers who have legally entered and exited the country for years on H-2B visas were denied an opportunity to return this year. Many full-time American jobs are at stake because these essential seasonal workers will not be available to help support employment needs.

    The landscape industry is being hit particularly hard, and individual small businesses report they could lose as much as $3 million dollars in business if the returning worker exemption is not extended. Losses will continue to mount as each week goes by without an extension. Not only does Congress' inaction hurt the $40 billion landscape industry, it also cripples all of the industries that depend on landscape companies for business -- trucking, growers, outdoor equipment, lawn and garden suppliers, insurers, gasoline suppliers, and many more. Layoffs will impact families across the United States and will result in home as well as business foreclosures.

    Landscape companies depend on H-2B workers to do the seasonal work that Americans choose not to fill. The positions are heavily advertised before they're filled by H-2B workers, and H-2B program users are required to pay an aggregated wage rate that is calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor. The return guest worker exemption expired on September 30, 2007, preventing many employers with jobs starting in February from obtaining workers during their busiest time of year.

    H-2B workers allow small seasonal businesses to operate during their peak season, and this enables them to maintain their full-time staff year-round. Without an extension of the cap, many seasonal businesses are already making plans to lay off full-time staff due to the inability to take on more jobs and the resulting lack of revenue.

    "There is no cost to this extension," states Tom Delaney, director of government relations for the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). "Including this in an economic stimulus package would make sense and ensure that many small businesses continue to thrive."

    "The landscape industry will be harder hit than other industries this year," states Corey Connors, director of legislative relations for the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA). "Congress must act quickly before the landscape community is irreparably damaged, and before the repercussions resonate throughout the green industry to growers, suppliers, and retail centers."

    Congress to Bush: H-2B employers need help

    Noting that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has already received enough applications to exceed the cap for H-2B visas for the second half of fiscal year 2008, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) led a broad bi-cameral, bi-partisan effort to urge President Bush to work with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor and Congress to ensure that small businesses throughout the country can keep their doors open this year. Failure to extend a critical provision of Senator Mikulski's Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act, which expired on September 30 and protects small and seasonal businesses, is forcing small businesses around the country to deal with devastating cuts to their workforce.

    "This is not a new issue, not a new policy, not a new loophole, and not a new cap. We're not breaking new ground here. We are simply trying to extend the guest worker provision that has expired. Small and seasonal businesses are counting on us, and we are letting them down," said Senator Mikulski. "We cannot let the businesses who rely on us be forced to limit services, lay off permanent U.S. workers, or worse yet, close their doors."
  2. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    Senator Mikulski. I live in this woman's state of Maryland. She first brought h2b workers to the crab picking industry. IMO the legal use of H2B workers is a valid source of labor for industries . Documented workers fill a gap without putting a strain on social services and schools paid for by American taxpayers. The problem came when some people decided to just look the other way and saw these hard working people as a source of profit. Forget about the H2B program I'll hire all I can. The end result of Senator Mikulski's efforts was to make Maryland a sanctuary state for illegals because of the word being spread back to the homeland that jobs were readily available here. Senator M should have the backbone to protect her efforts with the LEGAL H2B program and insist on adhearance to its strick rules. We don't see her cracking down on illegals here in MD. She looks the other way too hoping for future voters. Just as guilty as the unscrupulous employers IMO. As far as advertising for landscape jobs that has been discussed many times here. BS hoop to jump through to get H2B workers at the sub par wage. If anything the H2B program protects Americans by keeping track of who is in our country on a visa and what they are doing. If people are here with this program and enter the citizenship program we ALREADY have that would be great. But why should they when they are allowed to do whatever they want under the current look the other way stance employers and politicians take now. The greatest nation in the world should be able to develope and enforce a system that controls its borders and documents VISITORS to our great nation. Without that America is just word in a song before sporting events.

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