WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friday, June 26, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the fiscal 2016 Department of Labor Appropriations bill. No amendments were offered to try to strike the beneficial H-2B language included in the bill. The bill includes language that would:

  • Allow the use of private wage surveys, which are not allowed under the new final H-2B wage rule;
  • Clearly define seasonal as ten months, as opposed to the nine months in the new interim final H-2B comprehensive rule;
  • Prevent DOL from implementing the provisions of the interim final rule related to corresponding employment and the ¾ guarantee;
  • Prevent DOL from implementing the new and burdensome DOL enforcement scheme in the IFR related to audit and the Certifying Officer (CO) assisted recruitment; and
  • Allow for the staggered crossing of H-2B employees.

As you know the House Appropriations Committee-passed bill includes a provision on staggered crossing and some helpful, but non-binding, report language related to the new rules. The H-2B Workforce Coalition, with your help, will fight to ensure that this beneficial Senate language is included in a final appropriations bill.

Returning worker exemption

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security is planning to take up the DHS funding bill shortly after the July 4 recess.  Please use the next week to continue to weigh in strongly about the importance of including a returning worker exemption in the bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee-passed version of the bill does not include a returning worker exemption.  Therefore, it is essential that the House version include the provision.  During the next week, please do the following:

  • Call and write to your representative.  Ask him or her to speak to Subcommittee Chairman Carter (R-Texas) and Full Committee Chairman Rogers (R-Texas) or Ranking Member Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Full Committee Ranking Member Lowey (D-N.Y.) about the importance of including an H-2B returning worker exemption in the DHS funding bill. You can reach your representative through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to the office, ask to speak to the staff person who handles Department of Homeland Security appropriations.
  • Continue to discuss the importance of the returning worker exemption on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Tweet about the need for Congress to address the H-2B Program using #saveH2B.  Direct the tweets to your two senators and your member of congress as well as Subcommittee Chairman Carter, Full Committee Chairman Rogers, Subcommittee Ranking Member Roybal-Allard and Full Committee Ranking Member Lowey. You can find the twitter address for your senators and representative at the links below.

Here are some sample tweets:

  • @JudgeCarter ‪@RepRoybalAllard @RepHalRogers @NitaLowey ‪@AppropsDems @HouseAppropsGOP Save small and seasonal businesses. Include an H-2B returning worker exemption in the DHS funding bill #saveH2B
  • @JudgeCarter ‪@RepRoybalAllard @RepHalRogers @NitaLowey ‪@AppropsDems @HouseAppropsGOP Save the summer! Congress please include an H-2B returning worker exemption in the DHS funding bill #saveH2B
  • @JudgeCarter ‪@RepRoybalAllard @RepHalRogers @NitaLowey ‪@AppropsDems @HouseAppropsGOP Congress must pass an H-2B returning worker exemption so I can hire legal seasonal workers! #saveH2B
  • Create your own tweet that tells how the cap has impacted your business and include #saveH2B.

Don’t forget to thank your senators if they serve on the Appropriations Committee or is they weighed in with the Committee. You can thank the Senate Appropriations Committee for addressing the new H-2B regs in the Senate DOL appropriations bill by sending a tweet such as: @RoyBlunt ‪@PattyMurray @SenThadCochran @SenatorBarb Thanks for fighting to #saveH2B in DOL funding bill.