ALCC LAB
Continue your support of H-2B (12/13/18) Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Thursday, December 13, 2018 12:00 AM

H-2B Cap Hit! Immediate H-2B Action Needed!

This week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the H-2B visa cap for the first half of fiscal 2019 was reached on Dec. 6. Please take action today to urge Congress to fix the cap, even if you have recently done so. 

Requested Actions:

1. Please click on the appropriate link below, set up by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, to send a letter to your Representative and two Senators urging them to support the Tillis/Harris H-2B cap relief package in a final Department of Homeland Security Spending bill. Please also share these links with your colleagues and encourage them to respond.

SEND A LETTER AS AN EMPLOYER

SEND A LETTER AS AN EMPLOYEE

2. Please call your Representative and two Senators and ask them to urge their party leaders to include the Tillis/Harris H-2B package in a final DHS appropriations bill. You can reach your elected officials through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to your Representative or Senator’s office ask to speak to the person who handles H-2B issues. Please make these calls today!

3. Tweet at your Senators and Representative using#SaveH2B.You can find their twitter address at twitter.com/verified/lists/us-congress/members. Some sample tweets are below.

  • H-2B Cap Hit! Pass cap relief now! #saveH2B
  • Save American jobs. Pass H-2B cap relief now! #saveH2B
  • The H-2B program relies on workers who come to the U.S. for seasonal work, then go home. #saveH2B
  • Every H-2B worker creates and sustains 4.64 American jobs. Pass H-2B cap relief now! #saveH2B
  • #saveH2Band save American Jobs! Pass H-2B cap relief now! 
  • H-2B program = more American jobs. Pass H-2B cap relief now. #saveH2B
  • H-2B workers support American jobs. Pass H-2B cap relief now! #saveH2B
  • Save the spring and summer. Pass H-2B cap relief now! #saveH2B

Background:
Congress is the process of negotiating a final Fiscal 2019 Department of Homeland Security Spending bill. This legislation must be completed by December 21, in order to avoid a government shut down. President Trump and Congressional Democrats continue to fight over funding for a southern border wall and other issues. We are not certain of the final form that a year-end spending package will take or if there will be a short-term government shutdown, but we do know that whatever spending bill materializes from the ongoing negotiations between the President and Congress must include H-2B cap relief. This spending package is the only opportunity for Congress to fix the H-2B cap this year before the bulk H-2B petitions are submitted to the Department of Labor on January 1.

A group of lawmakers, including Senators Tillis (R-NC) and Rounds (R-SD) and Rep. Harris (R-MD), has negotiated an H-2B package that would:

  • Permanently double the annual H-2B cap to 132,000 visas and require the Department of Labor to report to Congress every two years about whether or not the cap should be increased or decreased based on economic need;
  • Allow some agricultural related industries to access the uncapped H-2A program, including forestry and conservation-related services relating primarily to the cultivation, installation, and establishment of horticultural commodities;
  • Provide for proportional and quarterly allocations of H-2B visa so that businesses have access to workers regardless of their dates of need; 
  • Preserve access to the program for compliant seasonal employers;
  • Provide access to needed temporary workers involved in disaster and recovery efforts;
  • Increase fines and penalties for bad actors;
  • Require employers who use the program to verify the work eligibility of recently hired and newly hired employees; and 
  • Eliminate the costly newspaper advertising requirement and replace it with a requirement to list jobs through an online Department of Labor job registry.

Thanks for all of your help to #saveH2B.

 
H-2B reform efforts continue (Dec 2018) Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Thursday, December 06, 2018 12:00 AM

H-2B reform efforts continue

Please see the letter that was just sent to Congressional leaders asking that the Tillis/Harris H-2B proposal be included in the final fiscal year 2019 spending bill. Thanks to everyone who signed the letter. Special thanks to Coloradans for engaging with this issue and contacting legislators. Colorado had approximately 80 companies and associations sign onto this letter--by far the highest amount of support in the country. 

Please also continue to reach out to your Representative and two Senators and encourage them to speak personally to their party leaders about the urgent need to include the Tills/Harris H-2B package in the final FY 2019 spending bill.

 
H-2B letter: Help needed today, 10-16-18 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 12:00 AM

Urgent request from the H-2B Workforce Coalition

Requested Action:
Please call your Representative and ask him or her to sign onto the H-2B letter that is currently being circulated by Reps. Bergman (R-MI) and Keating (D-MA). You can reach your Representative through the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to your lawmaker’s office, ask to speak to the staff person who deals with H-2B visa issues. Explain to the staff person the importance of H-2B cap relief to your business and ask him or her to encourage your Representative to sign the Bergman-Keating letter. Colorado representatives' contact information can also be found on this document.

Read more...
 
Update on H-2B 9-14-18 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Friday, September 14, 2018 12:00 AM

The H-2B Workforce Coalition issued the following update last night, September 13:

This evening the Appropriations Committees filed the conference agreement on the FY 19 Labor-HHS and Department of Defense “minibus” appropriations bill. It also includes a continuing resolution to maintain funding for the Department of Homeland Security and other federal Departments through December 7, 2018. We will keep you updated on the timing of House and Senate votes on the measure, but no votes are expected until next week.

Congress will not take up an FY 2019 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security until after the November elections. As you know, the DHS funding bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee in July would exempt returning workers from the annual H-2B visa cap, reallocate the capped 66,000 visas on a quarterly basis to ensure that employers with late seasons are not shut out of the program and allow for visas to be appropriated on a proportional basis to ensure that all qualifying employers receive at least a percentage of needed H-2B workers. The report that accompanies the Senate Appropriations Committee-passed version of FY 2019 DHS funding bill asks DHS to consider a more equitable annual allocation of the 66,000 visas. The H-2B Workforce Coalition continues to urge Congress to include the House cap relief language in a final appropriations bill.

The conference report that was filed tonight would continue the Department of Labor (DOL) H-2B provisions that have been included in past funding bills. Specifically, the bill would continue the provisions from last year's Omnibus Appropriations law that limit the ability of the Administration to enforce the corresponding employment and 3/4 guarantee provisions of the 2015 regulations, allow for the use of private wage surveys, provide for a 10-month season and allow for staggered crossing for seafood workers.

The text of the bill can be found at:  https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Defense%20LHHS%20Minibus%20FY19.pdf.

The H-2B provisions can be found on pages 41-43.

We will let you know when Congress votes on this legislation and continue to keep you updated.

Your H-2B Workforce Coalition Co-Chairs

Laurie Flanagan, representing AmericanHort and the National Association of Landscape Professionals

Brian Crawford, American Hotel and Lodging Association

Gregg Hartley, representing the Outdoor Amusement Business Association

 
Denver listening session about proposed overtime rule on 9/14/18 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Thursday, September 13, 2018 12:00 AM

U.S. Department of Labor will host a listening session about the proposed overtime rule in Denver on September 14. REad the full announcement from DOL below.

On September 14, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. MDT, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor will hold a public listening session in Denver, Colorado, to gather views on the Part 541 white-collar exemption regulations, often referred to as the "Overtime Rule."

Read more...
 
USDOL release about H-2B enforcement 9/13/18 Email
LAB
Written by H-2B Workforce Coalition   
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 12:00 AM

See the latest release regarding H-2B education and enforcement from U.S. Department of Labor:

WASHINGTON, DC - To ensure compliance with federal wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is conducting a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program in the landscaping industry. The initiative includes providing compliance assistance tools and information to employers and stakeholders, as well as conducting investigations of employers using this program.

Read more...
 
H-2B Workforce Coalition issues talking points for Congressional meetings Email
LAB
Written by H-2B Workforce Coalition   
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 12:00 AM

Several groups have upcoming Congressional meetings and asked for talking points. View/download talking points from H-2B Workforce Coalition.

Congress is unlikely to finalize an FY19 DHS appropriations bill and will likely pass a short-term spending measure to fund the Department until after the November elections.

While Congress may not take final action on the spending measure until after the election, it is important to continue to stress the need for cap relief to your lawmakers. Please continue to reach out to your lawmakers and ask them to do the following:

  • ASK THEIR PARTY LEADERS TO INCLUDE THE H-2B CAP RELIEF IN THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE-PASSED FISCAL 2019 DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS LEGISLATION IN THE FINAL DHS APPROPRIATIONS BILL OR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019.
  • COSPONSOR AND WORK TO PASS S. 792, “THE SAVE OUR SMALL AND SEASONAL BUSINESSES ACT OF 2017” AND H.R. 2004, “THE STRENGTHEN EMPLOYMENT AND SEASONAL OPPORTUNITIES NOW (SEASON) ACT.”
 
USDOL releases statement about H-2B education and enforcement initiative Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Friday, September 07, 2018 10:00 AM

US Department of Labor has issued the following media release this week:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR PROTECTS AMERICAN WORKERS WITH H-2B EDUCATION AND ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE

WASHINGTON, DC - To ensure compliance with federal wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is conducting a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program in the hotel industry.

Read more...
 
H-2B Returning Worker Amendment Passes Committee Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 11:00 AM

Thanks again for all of the amazing outreach to the Hill this week.  We are thrilled that earlier today that the House Appropriations Committee passed an H-2B amendment offered by Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Chris Stewart (R-UT) that would do the following:

Read more...
 
EPA continues plan to repeal 2015 WOTUS definition Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Monday, July 23, 2018 12:00 AM

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the notice Definition of “Waters of the United States”-Recodification of Preexisting Rule.

According to NALP, they "anticipate a new definition of WOTUS in late 2018."

 
H-2B outreach needed today July 23, 2018 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Monday, July 23, 2018 12:00 AM

In preparation for Wednesday’s House FY 19 Homeland Security Appropriations markup, please do the following:

1. Ask your Representative to sign onto the letter to the Appropriations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member that Reps. Bergman and Keating are circulating. The deadline for signatures is noon tomorrow.

Read more...
 
Call reps to support H-2B visa program 7-20-18 Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Friday, July 20, 2018 12:00 AM

H-2B updateYesterday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security passed its Fiscal 2019 appropriations bill. The measure does not currently include any H-2B cap relief. We are hopeful that an H-2B returning worker exemption will be added during the full committee markup on the bill on Wednesday. Reps. Harris (R-MD), Cuellar (D-TX) and others will offer the amendment. In order for an H-2B fix to be added to the bill, we need you to do the following TODAY:

Read more...
 
No more H-2B visas to be released this year? Email
LAB
Written by Cherie Courtade   
Friday, July 13, 2018 12:00 AM
From the H-2B Workforce Coalition:
Please see the DHS response to the letter that Reps. Harris, Bergman, Keating, Pingree and the numerous other Members sent asking DHS to release additional H-2B visas. View/download the response.
 
In the letter, DHS says it will not release any more visas this year.  We need your continued help to reach out to Congress. Please do the following:
Read more...
 
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