Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Action Needed For Those Employing H2-A Workers

Last Monday I blogged about the Suspension of the H2-A Program. Here are a few bullet points relating to this important issue. Following the bullet points there is an opportunity to let your voice be heard. Must be done by March 27!
  • On Tuesday, March 17th the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposal to suspend the Bush Administration’s recent changes to the H-2A program
  • If adopted, the suspension would last for 9 months
  • DOL is proposing the suspension so it may “review and reconsider” the Bush H-2A Rule “while minimizing the disruption to the Department, State Workforce Agencies (SWAs), employers and workers.”
  • DOL established a 10 day comment period for the proposal
  • The short duration of the comment period is unusual, but not unprecedented
  • DOL argues the 10 day comment period is sufficient because a longer time period would stretch too far into the growing season
  • If DOL decides to suspend the Bush H-2A Rule, it will “re-instate verbatim” the H-2A regulations that were in place immediately before the Bush H-2A took effect
  • Assuming DOL decides to suspend the Bush Rule, two possible regulatory outcomes could occur at the end of the 9 month suspension period:
    1. DOL will lift the suspension and allow the Bush Rule to stand
    1. DOL will write new H-2A regulations
  • If the suspension takes effect, H-2A users who have engaged in “pre-filing positive recruitment” before the start of the suspension period will be governed under the Bush H-2A Rule
  • H-2A users who have not begun “pre-filing positive recruitment” before the start of the suspension period will be governed under the previous H-2A regulatory scheme

If you use H-2A workers and want to submit comments, you can do so until Friday, March 27th. Comments must be limited to whether USDOL should suspend the Bush H-2A rule.

You can send by e-mail to: and follow website instructions for submitting comments.

You can also mail them to:

Thomas Dowd

Administrator, Office of Policy Development and Research

Employment and Training Administration

U.S. Department of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-5641

Washington, DC 20210

Below is a sample comment letter text from the NC Farm Bureau:

Sample Comment Letter Text

I am writing to express my opposition to the Department’s proposal to suspend the H-2A Final Rule for nine months. As a farmer, I urge the Department to withdraw this proposal.

Suspending the H-2A Final Rule will increase confusion regarding the program and frustrate farm budgets and business plans. It could also result in some farmers who use the H-2A program becoming vulnerable to wage discrimination lawsuits. The Final Rule was adopted using proper rulemaking procedures and H-2A users relied on this regulatory framework as they made plans for the 2009 growing season. The Department’s proposal will disrupt many farming operations in North Carolina, which has the largest number of H-2A users in the nation, at precisely the wrong time.

Again, I urge the Department to withdraw this misguided proposal to suspend the H-2A Final Rule. Thank you for your attention to my comments.

Note: Due to security concerns postal delivery to Washington, DC may be delayed. USDOL encourages the submission of comments via the website.

On Thursday, Commissioner Troxler and representatives from the Agriculture Council and the NC Vegetable Growers Association will travel to Washington to hand deliver over 600 letters.

If this is a topic that will adversely affect you, please make your voice heard!

No comments: