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Friday, October 21, 2011

Support Needed For Bill Introduced to Save H-2B Foreign Worker Program

The horse industry relies on H-2B foreign workers to operate. The Department of Labor (DOL) is about to adopt two new rules concerning the H-2B program that could significantly impact horse employers who utilize it. The American Horse Council (AHC) fears these actions could make the H-2B program essentially unusable for many employers.

Because of the severe impact these DOL rules could have on the small and seasonal businesses that rely on the H-2B program, Congressman Rodney Alexander(R-LA) has introduced H.R. 3162 a bill that would prohibit DOL from implementing, amending or enforcing a new H-2B wage rule or a proposed rule that would make changes to the entire program.

Specifically, the DOL will begin using a new formula for calculating prevailing wages on November 30.  This regulation will impact H-2B users who have labor certifications that are valid after November 30, 2011 and anyone hiring H-2B workers in the future.  These new wages will need to be paid to current and future H-2B workers and any U.S. workers hired in connection with the H-2B recruitment process. More information on the wage rule can be found here on the AHC website.

Additionally, in December the DOL is planning to finalize a second rule that will affect the program further. The rule will likely require employers to hire any qualified U.S. worker up to three days before the H-2B worker is scheduled to begin and require employers to pay transportation and subsistence costs for potential U.S. workers. A full description of the proposed rule and AHC comments on the proposed rule can be found here on the AHC website

The American Horse Council urges you to call or email your Representative and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 3162 introduced by Congressman Alexander.

Call your Representative and tell them:
  • The H-2B program is vital to the $102 billion horse industry and new DOL rules threaten the ability of the horse industry to participate in that program.
  • Horse industry employers do not use the H-2B program by choice. They are forced to use it because American workers are not seeking these jobs.
  • In the current economic conditions the new rules will drastically increase the cost of an already costly system and could be devastating to employers who rely on H-2B workers.
  • Most horse industry employers who use the H-2B program also employ American workers in other capacities and support many other jobs.
  • If current users of the H-2B program are no longer able to afford to participate, the jobs of many Americas employed by the horse industry will be put at risk.  
  • Please co-sponsor the H.R. 3162 introduced by Congressman Alexander

You can reach your Representative by calling the Congressional switchboard at (202) 225-3121.  Ask for your Representative's office and then ask to speak to the staff person who handles immigration issues.

Email your Representative

You can personalize and email the attached letter to your Representative. You should personalize the email if you can with information about yourself and how the H-2B program impacts your segment of the industry.

To find the email address for your Representatives or to find out who your Representative is go to   http://www.house.gov/ or you can call the AHC.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC.

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