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Briefing on H-2B Worker Protections

Defending Hard-Fought H-2B Worker Protections from Attacks in the Appropriations Process

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The H-2B visa program provides businesses across the United States with qualified, temporary workers who serve an integral part of our nation’s economy. As you may know, H-2B workers typically work in seasonal industries such as landscaping, construction, and golf course management, in addition to year-round industries like hospitality.

This past April, the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security issued two joint interim final rules: one on H-2B wages and another mandating that employers seeking H-2B workers obtain certification that they have met certain program requirements. The rules also included critical new worker protections, such as the creation of a national registry of all H-2B job postings to help U.S. workers learn about available temporary jobs and the extension of wage guarantees to H-2B workers.

Unfortunately, while April’s agency action was good news, these new rules are now under attack and face the possibility of being blocked via riders in the appropriations process. Without the new safeguards, H-2B visa holders, who already face the stark choice between staying with an employer or being deported, must remain in low-paying jobs with few protections, the equivalent of indentured servitude. Clearly, something must be done.

Moderator

Rachel Micah-Jones, Executive Director, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.

Panelists

Cathleen Caron, Executive Director, Global Workers Justice Alliance

Jim Knoepp, Deputy Legal Director, Southern Poverty Law Center

JJ Rosenbaum, Legal and Policy Director, National Guestworker Alliance

Layla Soberanis, Legislative Assistant, Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA)

To learn more, click here to access the ILRWG’s briefing materials.


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