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Companies Report Revenue Loss Due to H-2B Mix-ups and Rules Changes

A member company of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance decided to cut more than 200 jobs rather than deal with the H-2B program.

The new wage rule that will require companies to pay H-2B workers more than what half the U.S. workers make performing the same jobs could force thousands of businesses to face closure according to the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance.

To back up their case, the organization cited examples of member companies that have been negatively impacted by the program's rules in the past, or foresee a negative impact from the new rule.

For instance, one company became so frustrated by constantly changing rules, they elected to shed more than 200 jobs rather than deal with the H-2B program. Where once they were a full-service landscape company, they now only install retaining walls.

Another member company was denied the ability to bring in 58 H-2B workers due to a paperwork error. To make up for the 58, they reportedly hired more than 1,300 individuals over a nine-month period, and related that some hires never showed up for work, others stayed less than a week on the job, and that the quality of the work suffered so much that they lost 10 percent of their customer base for the following year.

To predict how much impact the new rule could have, the CFO of a third company calculated adjustments to those employed in like positions and those providing leadership to those roles, and found that the prior seven years of profits at that company would have been wiped out by the losses of a single season under the new program rules.

The NHLA released a statement that says that it "believes that the lack of foresight in the actions taken by the (Department of Labor) and (Department of Homeland Security), if left unchecked, will cause the loss of thousands of jobs at reputable companies, not only the seasonal jobs filled by foreign workers, but year-round jobs held by U.S. workers as well."

As reported earlier, the landscape organization joined in a lawsuit with others against the DOL and DHS.

"We'd much prefer to work with the administration than sue it," said Ralph Egues, executive director of the NHLA. "It would certainly be our preference to initiate a dialogue with the DOL and DHS to establish a program that recognizes H-2B employer best practices. We believe that such an approach would do much more to benefit all involved with the H-2B program than the course of action the DOL and DHS have pursued."

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July 16, 2019, 4:03 am PDT

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