H-2B Workforce Coalition Update 7-7-16: Labor HHS Spending Bill

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H2B Workforce Coalition statement 7-7-16

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July 7, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The H-2B Workforce Coalition issued the following
statement today of the Labor, HHS and Education spending bill for fiscal year
2017:
The H-2B Workforce Coalition applauds Chairman Tom Cole and the House
Labor HHS Appropriations Subcommittee for recognizing the importance of
regulatory flexibility when it comes to economic growth and job creation,
especially for the small business sector.
The Labor-HHS Appropriations bill includes two provisions that will allow small
businesses that use H-2B visas to more effectively utilize the program to help
sustain job growth in the United States.
Studies show that for every H-2B position filled, 4.6 American jobs are
sustained.
One provision would allow employers to hire H-2B workers only when they
need them the most. This provision would give employers the discretion to
stagger their hires to only those peak times in the season when those workers
have the maximum impact in sustaining American jobs.
The other provision would allow a more extended use of validated third-party
private wage surveys to determine the most accurate prevailing wage to be
paid to the H-2B workers. This provision protects both workers and small
businesses to insure that the fairest wage is being paid.
“Flexibility is very important in scheduling reforestation work, which is strongly
weather-dependent,” stated Deb Hawkinson, President of the Forest Resources
Association. “It is important to match workers’ entry to suitable ground
conditions and other weather-related factors for an effective operation that
creates quality for clients.”
“Thanks to Chairman Cole and the House Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education and Related Agencies for including H-2B process improvements in
the fiscal 2017 appropriations bill,” said Sabeena Hickman of the National
Association of Landscaping Professionals. “The ability of employers to use
validated third party wage surveys and bring H-2B landscape workers into the
country on staggered schedules as the busy spring season ramps up will help
seasonal businesses and their employees and save Department of Labor
resources.”
“The entire Gulf seafood supply chain is in some way dependent upon the
availability of H-2B visa workers who fill the most labor-intensive positions in our
industry — jobs that support thousands of others for Americans across the
region,” said Margaret Henderson, Executive Director of the Gulf Seafood
Institute. “The Gulf Seafood Institute is pleased that House Appropriators are
taking the lead on preserving this critical program on behalf of our businesses
and the American consumers who enjoy accessing Gulf seafood all across the
country.”
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