DOL Delaying Wage Increases In H-2B
The postponement is good news for the green industry. But if wages ultimately do increase for workers with H-2B visas, a number of nurseries and landscapers will be facing dramatically increased labor costs.
September 27, 2011
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), which was expected to implement a higher wage scale for workers with H-2B visas, announced late last week it is delaying the implementation while a number of legal challenges against the increases are addressed.
According to Craig Regelbrugge, vice president of government relations for the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), H-2B is an important source of seasonal workers, especially in the landscape and landscape distribution sectors.
"In our view the new wage rule is arbitrary and indefensible," Regelbrugge says. "It will dramatically increase costs. Many users have workers on the payroll and are bound by contracts. They have few if any good options."
Wages were expected to increase between 40 and 70 percent, Regelbrugge adds, but a number of groups are currently challenging the rule in court.
"Proponents of DOL's actions believe they will improve opportunities for American workers," he says. "In reality, inability of companies to get seasonal work performed jeopardizes full-time, year-round American jobs in production, design, marketing, office management (and) sales."