Leveling the Playing Field: Reforming the H-2B Program to Protect Guestworkers and U.S. Workers, a report released by the NGA in June 2012, details how employers have turned the H-2B visa program into the “ultimate tool” for undercutting U.S. workers and exploiting low-wage guestworkers, while corporate lobbyists block Department of Labor reforms that would level the playing field.
The report highlights cases of exploitation from Texas to Tennessee, and calls for four indispensable reforms that would end employer abuse and protect both guestworkers and U.S. workers:
- Guaranteeing guestworkers the right to organize without fear of retaliation;
- Prohibiting employers from using guestworkers as cheap, exploitable alternatives to U.S. workers;
- Eliminating debt servitude and other elements of human trafficking in the program; and
- Subjecting employers to meaningful government enforcement and community oversight.