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Fight to Save the H-2B Program

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The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) board of directors recently voted to provide funds for a new lawsuit being brought in the Northern District of Florida to stop the implementation of the new H-2B program rule, released February 21, 2012, by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

If the new program rule does take effect on April 23, 2012, it will require employers to hire any qualified U.S. worker up to 21 days before an H-2B worker is scheduled to begin, even if the employer has already offered the job to an H-2B worker, assisted with that worker’s visa process, and paid transportation, housing, and other associated fees. 

While the H-2B wage rule is still pending, PLANET sees this new lawsuit--seeking a preliminary injunction--as the best chance of preventing the program rule from taking effect. 

The proposed rule would also involve labor unions in the hiring process and would require employers to pay transportation and subsistence costs for potential U.S. workers who are employed for at least 50 percent of the season. In addition, the rule includes provisions requiring employers to pay workers with “corresponding employment” duties similar wages.

PLANET continues to push for a legislative fix, but realizes the difficulty in making that happen before the new rule goes into effect on April 23. For that reason, PLANET is asking for financial support from the green industry to help pay for this new lawsuit.  “Every little bit counts,” said Tom Delaney, PLANET’s director of government affairs. “If you ever want to use the H-2B program in the future, your funds are needed to fight to keep the program functional.”

Those wishing to support the litigation can email Tom at tomdelaney@landcarenetwork.org or call him at 800-395-2522 for information about how to make a contribution.

 
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