Posts Tagged ‘vanderbilt landscaping’

H-2B Visa Program Report: Leveling the Playing Field

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.

The report was authored by the Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights on behalf of the NGA. It is available for download here.

Battle in Congress to protect guestworkers and U.S. workers

The following statement is by National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) Executive Director Saket Soni:

The NGA applauds the legislation introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) to protect job stability and quality for U.S. workers while protecting guestworkers from extreme exploitation. The forestry industry is one of many places that employers abuse guestworker programs to undercut U.S. workers and drive down working conditions and wages to dangerously low levels.

While Sen. Merkley and Rep. DeFazio are trying to reform the H-2B guestworker program for the better, Republican members of Congress are doing the opposite: Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA) and 14 Republican co-sponsors introduced a bill last week to block new H-2B rules by the Department of Labor that would protect U.S. workers and guestworkers alike.

The bill proposed by Sen. Merkley and Rep. DeFazio is further evidence of why the Department of Labor’s new H-2B rules are so important. For too long, industries have been used to rules that let temporary workers be treated as captive labor, and let U.S. workers be excluded. Republicans in Congress are fighting to keep things that way. Department of Labor, Sen. Markley, and Rep. DeFazio are fighting to put an end to it.

NGA and its allies believe that U.S. workers and the guestworkers working alongside them deserve safe, decent work, including protections from retaliation when they bring abuses to light. We will be working to make sure these important protections go into effect. We call on employers, policymakers, and elected officials who are serious about creating long-term, living wage jobs in the U.S. to join us.

U.S. Tightens Rules for Skilled Visas – Kansas City Star – 2/10/12

U.S. tightens rules for skilled visas

By Diane Stafford

The U.S. Labor Department on Friday issued new rules for the H-2B immigration program governing temporary, non-agricultural workers.

The department said the changes were designed to give U.S. workers greater access to jobs.

Learn more ...

DOL Adds H-2B Worker Protections – Bloomberg – 2/14/12

DOL Issues Final Rule Adding Worker Protections to H-2B Program

DOL H-2B Visa Final Rule

Key Development: Final rule alters the employer application and recruitment process and provides additional protections for H-2B and U.S. workers.

Potential Impact: Employers must apply through a bifurcated registration/application process under which DOL must certify that required program conditions exist; U.S. workers who perform substantially the same work as the job order or as H-2B workers are entitled to program protections.

Learn more ...

US Changes Foreign Worker Rules – Palm Beach Post – 2/10/12

U.S. changes rules to force resorts to try harder to hire locals first, not foreign workers

By John Lantigua

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued new rules requiring importers of foreign guestworkers nationwide to make a greater effort to recruit local workers, a change that will have a significant impact on Palm Beach County.

In a series of articles published in 2011, The Palm Beach Post revealed that 2,000 foreign workers were being imported yearly for jobs of seven months and more in local country clubs and resorts, despite an unemployment rate in the county of over 10 percent, and approximately twice that high among minority workers.

Learn more ...

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