The Ohio Nursery & Landscape association provides $5000 to block implementation of new rule
The Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association (ONLA) recently provided $5,000 to support a legal challenge to the H-2B program rule. This legal challenge, supported by many industries that will be adversely affected by the rule change, seeks to block the U.S. Department of Labor’s implementation of the new rule on April 23, 2012. An earlier legal challenge to the wage rule is still pending in Northern Florida.
If the new program rule takes effect, it will make substantial changes to the H-2B program. It requires employers to hire any qualified U.S. worker up to 21 days before the H-2B worker is scheduled to begin, even though the employer may have already offered the job to the H-2B worker, assisted with the visa process and paid transportation, housing and other associated fees. The rule also includes labor unions in the hiring process and requires employers to pay transportation and subsistence costs for potential U.S. workers who work at least 50 percent of the season. In addition, the rule includes provisions requiring employers to pay workers with “corresponding employment” duties similar wages.
In addition to the legal challenge, legislative efforts have continued by many national groups including the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). Late last year, Congress prohibited the Department of Labor from implementing the wage rule through the end of the 2012 fiscal year. Also, on February 28, Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La. and several other lawmakers introduced a resolution (H.J.RES.104) expressing disapproval with the Department of Labor’s new rule. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and other Senators introduced the same measure (S.J. RES. 38) in the Senate on March 21, 2012. If passed, the measure would prevent the Department of Labor from implementing the program rule.
“Serving as the voice of Ohio’s green industry businesses through advocacy and government relations is a big part of what the ONLA provides for members,” stated Tom Demaline, ONLA Legislative Committee Chair and president of Willoway Nurseries Inc. “Part of protecting and advancing their interests is fighting to maintain a workable H-2B program for members, and the landscape industry at large.”
ONLA encourages green industry businesses and trade associations to contribute to the ANLA’s Beacon Fund to help fund the legal challenge to the H-2B program and wage rules. For more information on how to contribute, contact the ONLA office at (800) 825-5062.