wage freeze

Legislators Seek H-2A Wage Freeze

Daniel Cooper financial, Labor, Legislative

Seventy-five U.S. House of Representatives members have asked House and Senate appropriations leaders for an H-2A visa guestworker wage freeze in an upcoming spending package. The text of the representatives’ letter to appropriations leaders follows: “We write with shared concerns regarding the annual adjustment to the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR). Now in 2024, the H-2A labor rates paid by …

Ag Employers Want H-2A Wage Methodology Amended

Tacy Callies Labor

The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) has petitioned Acting Department of Labor Secretary Julie Su to amend the regulatory methodology for determining adverse effect wage rates in the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program. “America’s farm and ranch families and American consumers continue to bear the brunt of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) misuse of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s …

wage

H-2A Wage Rates to Rise Again

Daniel Cooper Labor

Florida’s adverse effect wage rate (AEWR), the minimum wage for H-2A agricultural workers, is estimated to climb 3% in 2024. Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) reported the new Florida AEWR is estimated to be $14.77 per hour. Georgia’s AEWR is expected to rise 7%. Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) reported Georgia’s new AEWR is estimated to be …

Rule Would Bolster H-2A Farmworker Protections

Josh McGill Labor, Regulation

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Sept. 12 proposed a new rule that would strengthen protections for temporary foreign farmworkers in the H-2A program. This is the third proposed regulation tied specifically to the H-2A program in the last year. It follows the final DOL rule published in October 2022 that modernized key aspects of the H-2A program and …

H-2A Visa Fees to Increase June 17

Josh McGill Labor, Regulation

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) fees for petition-based non-immigrant visas for H-2A temporary foreign workers will increase on June 17, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) reported. The final rule from DOS will increase the H-2A visa fees by 7.9%, from $190 to $205, less than DOS originally proposed in 2022. In its original proposal, DOS would have increased …

New Dignity Act Aims to Reform Immigration and H-2A

Josh McGill Labor, Legislative

Bipartisan members of Congress led by Representatives María Elvira Salazar of Florida and Veronica Escobar of Texas on May 23 introduced an updated version of the Dignity Act (H.R. 3599). The act would reform immigration laws and streamline the H-2A program for temporary foreign workers.  The bill would aim to stop illegal immigration, provide a dignified solution for undocumented immigrants living in America and strengthen …

Actions Against H-2A Wage Rule

Josh McGill Labor, Legal, Legislative

Federal legislators have followed through on previously announced plans to try to overturn the Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule to determine wages for temporary foreign agricultural workers under the H-2A program. H-2A workers harvest a majority of Florida’s citrus crop. Legislators introduced House and Senate Congressional Review Act resolutions to nullify the DOL’s adverse effect wage rates (AEWRs) methodology rule. …

Senator Talks to Growers and Acts on H-2A

Josh McGill Labor

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) recently spoke to South Georgia citrus growers in Ochlocknee about their needs and introduced legislation to reduce a wage-rate increase in the H-2A guestworker program. The industry’s needs include shoring-up supply chains, expanding facilities to keep up with growing demand, and strengthening research on diseases and pests that pose a unique threat to citrus. “I’m …

wage

Basics of the H-2A Final Rule

Josh McGill Labor, Regulation

The 2022 H-2A program final rule was published Oct. 12 and became effective Nov. 14. The vast majority of Florida citrus is harvested by temporary foreign workers within the H-2A program, so the rule has many implications for the state’s citrus industry. Jamie Fussell, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association director of labor relations, discussed the final rule during the Nov. …

H-2A Labor Program Amended

Josh McGill Labor, Regulation

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to amend H-2A temporary labor certification regulations to better protect agricultural workers and to update the application and certification process. The final rule becomes effective Nov. 14, 2022. The H-2A program allows employers to address temporary labor needs by employing foreign agricultural workers when there are not sufficient workers who are …

H-2A Flexibilities Offered After Hurricane Ian

Josh McGill hurricane, Labor, Regulation

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certification has provided Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) with general guidance regarding additional flexibilities for H-2A employers impacted by Hurricane Ian. Most Florida citrus is harvested by temporary H-2A workers. Following is a summary of the DOL answers to four questions about H-2A employer flexibilities due to the hurricane’s …

Florida Is Leading User of H-2A Workers

Josh McGill Labor

Florida accounted for 14% of H-2A jobs certified in 2020, making it the leading user of the temporary guest agricultural worker program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA/ERS) recently reported that Florida and five other states accounted for 55% of the certified H-2A jobs in 2020. The other large H-2A users were Georgia (10%), Washington (10%), California …

Grower Associations Object to H-2A Wage Methodology

Tacy Callies Economics, Labor

Florida Citrus Mutual recently published the following statement about comments it submitted regarding the wage rate for temporary foreign H-2A workers: “On January 31, 2022, Florida Citrus Mutual, along with many other agricultural entities nationwide, submitted comments to the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) in reference to the proposed changes to the methodology for the adverse effect wage rate …

New H-2A Wages Effective Dec. 29

Ernie Neff Labor

A recent issue of the Florida Citrus Mutual Triangle newsletter provided information about the wage that growers must pay H-2A labor, effective Dec. 29. H-2A workers are foreign agricultural workers who are allowed to work in the United States temporarily. In recent years, the vast majority of Florida citrus has been harvested by H-2A workers. The Employment and Training Administration …

H-2A Wage Freeze Blocked

Tacy Callies Labor

A federal judge has blocked the H-2A wage freeze that the Department of Labor (DOL) announced in November. The DOL decision would have kept H-2A wages at 2020 rates through 2022. Last month, United Farm Workers (UFW) and the UFW Foundation filed a suit to block the DOL rule. U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd granted the injunction preventing DOL from …

H-2A Wage Decision Commended

Ernie Neff Labor

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) commended the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for extending the 2020 Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for the H-2A program through 2022. The vast majority of Florida citrus is harvested by temporary foreign workers in the H-2A program. “We applaud the agency for recognizing that the …

H-2A Program Updates

Tacy Callies Labor, Regulation

When the U.S. government announced its decision to suspend visa processing in Mexico on March 18 to combat the spread of COVID-19, growers around the country immediately expressed concerns that the action could have a major impact on agriculture and the U.S. food supply. The concern, of course, was due to the vital role that foreign workers play in the …

Making the H-2A Process Easier

Ernie Neff Labor

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced new features on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers.gov website designed to help facilitate the employment of H-2A workers. The vast majority of Florida citrus is harvested by temporary foreign workers employed through the H-2A program.   “USDA’s goal is to help farmers navigate the complex H-2A program that is administered by …

H-2A Change May Aid Growers

Ernie Neff Labor

A temporary final rule change to some H-2A requirements is intended to help citrus and other agricultural employers avoid disruptions to their labor forces, protect the food supply and lessen impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule change was announced by the Department of Homeland Security with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Temporary foreign H-2A workers make …

H-2A Made Easier

Ernie Neff Labor

A panel discussion at Citrus Expo’s general session aimed to help make the federal H-2A foreign guest worker program a little easier for agriculturists to navigate. The panel included a grower representative who has used H-2A, a labor attorney who is an H-2A expert, and a federal Department of Labor (DOL) regional director. Natalie Gupton, director of business services and industry …