The Truth About H2-B ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by patron, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. patron

    patron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

  2. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Posts: 1,835

    That's a bunch of crap. First, there is no reason whatsoever that an employer in the US should have any responsibility for what a recruiter who is not their employee does in a foreign country. The H2-B workers are not as victimized as this little speech makes it out and the vast majority of the victimization that does occur happens in their home country, not here. Let me tell you my first hand experience with H2-B and you tell me who the victim was.

    I spent several thousand dollars to get 4 H2-B permits last year. I brought my first 2 workers in May and was paying a base of $400/wk (well above the prevailing wage in my area) and providing subsidized housing and free phone calls to their home country. I furnished their apartment and bought their first batch of groceries. After 2 weeks, one of the workers refused to get out of bed and decided he was going to return home. Said the work was too hard and he wasn't making enough money. I give him his final check and call a cab for the airport, which he refuses to pay for. Not wanting the idiot to go to jail, I paid his cab fare, put a stop on his check and sent him the difference.

    I get my next 2 workers about 2 weeks later. Again, I'm subsidizing their housing and paying a base above the prevailing wage. Some weeks, depending on how much work they complete, they're making $500 or more. Well the 3 remaining guys work for about 4 more weeks and then we show up one Monday morning to pick them up and they're nowhere to be found. Skipped out, left the apartment a wreck, and never said a word. They didn't return home so they're floating around the US somewhere thanks to all my hard work and the money I spent to import them. I was left with 4 months on an apartment lease and 3 guys short of my needed workforce and they made out like bandits.

    So tell me, who is really victimized here? It's not the worker.

    Fast forward to this year and I find local, illegal labor that I'd like to hire through H2-B. I have personal experience with their work and they'd be happy to make what I pay since they're current employer pays less. Deciding that my problem last year was not being directly involved with recruitment, I go ahead and start the H2-B process again, only to have all the visas filled for 2008 by Jan 3 because the bill didn't pass and there has been no extension to the H2-R program. So now I'm out $1000 for the company that was to handle the paperwork for me and someone here illegally that was going to be converted to a legal employee will now stay illegal. Americans are unwilling to do this work for the most part so I get to have another year of going through 20+ employees to fill 4 positions. Again, who is the victim?

    We can argue all day about how if people paid more they'd get better workers but I'm here to tell you it's not true. In a market where helpers normally make $300/wk, I pay them $500+/wk and still can't get employees that will stick. I know it's physically crappy work but $2,000/mo is more than a receptionist or entry level administrative assistant makes here. I pay damn well.

    The labor situation in this country for physical labor jobs is crap. I don't know the answer but I do know that H2 workers are better than Americans. Even though mine ultiimately bailed out for whatever reason, at least they showed up and worked every day up until the point they decided to dissappear, which is more than I can say for the majority of my American workforce this last year, many of whom believed that 3 days a week was more than enough.
     
  3. patron

    patron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    Dude I'm on your side
    Just want to show everyone who we are up against in this fight

    rb
     
  4. Frontier-Lawn

    Frontier-Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,949

    and it all can be traced back to one major problem
    a person called..................... BUSH!!!
     
  5. Frontier-Lawn

    Frontier-Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,949

    and 2 i will not be responsible for what a recruiter does that i do not pay or even know.

    that's how the other 50% of the Mexicans's get over here to become illegals, with out having to worry about jumping the border.
     
  6. patron

    patron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    I posted this to try and find a solution moving forward, not to find out from where the problem may be traced back to. After 30 years in this racket this h2b program worked very well for me and never ever did I think the congress would take this source of labor away from me.
     
  7. NLS1

    NLS1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    Lets wait to see who is in the presidency next year, and see how it's going for you then, my guess is it will be the same since you are refusing to make the necessary changes to succeed with or without workers from Mexico that may or not be legal.

    It has to do with you and your profit margins being dependent on paying $500 dollars a week and bcg said it "physically crappy work" makes it hard for anyone to stick around. If you did not make the money that you make, would you stick with it? Just for fun? How about for $500 a week?

    If you think that having any particular person in the presidency will solve all of your problems, or even a few, you are sorely ignorant. Step up and solve your own problems, don't wait for a certain president or politician to do it for you. There isn't a single politician that really gives a rats butt about you or your problems anymore than you care about my problems or your neighbors problems. Figure out how to keep workers around on your own, or work alone!

    Wake up!
     
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    As far as I'm concerned, H2B is a myth for the landscaping industry. I paid over $1,500 for a firm to get my paperwork through the various government channels only to be told, in December, "We can't get your workers here until May." We started the entire procedure in early August. I lost $1,500 and a lot of my time learning about H2B and filling out forms.

    May???

    Are you serious???? My season starts in February. Do they honestly expect me to fire workers who are getting the job done in May to replace them with H2B workers showing up in May with no experience???? WTF???

    I'll never participate in this ridiculous system again. If and when I start hearing first hand stories from other landscapers who've had TRUE success with H2B, then I MAY reconsider.

    If H2B is the government's solution for matching a willing employer with a willing worker, we might as well rename this the United States of Beaurocracy.
     
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Oh, and by the way, the lady in the youTube video does bring up some VERY valid points about the workers not being in a position to negotiate wages, working conditions, etc. The visa allows them to work for one employer and one employer only. Their legal options are to work for the employer or go home. Working for another US employer who might treat them better and pay them better isn't a legal option.

    I would agree: The current H2B program is paramount to legal slavery. That's not to say that every employer would take advantage of the situation, but the potential is certainly there.
     
  10. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Posts: 1,835


    What's the real alternative though? It's the employer that is doing all the paperwork and spending substantial money to get the workers here. If they could just come in and then legally go work for another employer then the guy that brought them is going to get screwed like I did more often than they already are. I think dance with the one that brung ya or go home is reasonable and don't think they should have any other option. If an employer is really taking advantage of them, they can still call the DoL, just like any other legal employee.
     

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