On April 26, a federal judge in northern Florida issued a preliminary injunction blocking the United States Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing a new rule that would have fundamentally altered the H-2B temporary and seasonal worker program. This program is used by many nursery and landscape industry employers to fill seasonal labor positions when too few American workers apply for these jobs.
Judge Rodgers’ preliminary injunction prevents DOL from implementing the H-2B program rewrite, which was set to take effect on April 27. While the ruling was in Florida, the decision applies nationwide.
The ruling will also impact DOL’s plans to implement the wage rule on October 1 and is considered to be a huge victory for the entire vertically integrated green industry.
The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents green industry workers, and many state nursery and landscape associations have provided support to lawsuits that challenge the new program rule. These lawsuits came from a range of plaintiffs including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Professional Landcare Network and other allies.
The Department of Justice will likely appeal the decision, but any legal challenge will take time. In the meantime, ANLA has indicated that it is pleased that the H-2B program will continue to be a workable and legal source of labor for the landscape industry. To see the full text of the preliminary injunction visit http://bit.ly/H2Binjunction.