Legal Challenge Tops H-2A News

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With growers in many states facing mandated H-2A wage increases of up to nearly 23 percent, a legal challenge was expected to be filed on January 8.  The National Council of Agricultural Employers, in which AmericanHort is an active leader, has been preparing to file suit in U.S. Federal District Court against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), challenging that the DOL has failed to justify the recently-published 2019 Adverse Effect Wage Rates for the H-2A program, according to the requirements of statute. 

With the states of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada facing the largest increases in the nation, AmericanHort coordinated two member greenhouse grower declarations from that region which describe the harm resulting from these unprecedented wage increases.  The declarations are intended to help persuade a judge in the case to provide immediate injunctive relief while the merits of the case are considered. 

As reported previously, the national average increase in the 2019 H-2A wage is 6.3 percent, more than double the 3.1 percent increase in wages and salaries in the general economy according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In other H-2A news, AmericanHort filed official comments generally supporting the DOL’s proposal to eliminate the requirement for print advertising as part of the H-2A program’s domestic worker recruitment obligations.  Print advertising has proven to be expensive and unproductive. We argued that the existing online job postings that are already done by DOL and state workforce agencies should suffice.

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