MIAMI, Fla. — The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance, has joined Bayou Lawn and Landscape Services, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, Superior Forestry and the Small and Seasonal Business Legal Center in filing a lawsuit seeking to make the recently enacted H-2B rules illegal.
The suit against the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida would eliminate regulations filed April 28. The new ruling included many new procedures, including:
· All jobs must be at least 35 hours per week, rather than 30.
· Job offers must remain open to U.S. workers until 21 days before the employer's start date of need.
· Employment duration was decreased from 10 to 9 months.
· Employers must guarantee a certain number of work days to employees.
· Private wage surveys may not be used to determine hourly rates.
· Former employees with U.S. citizenship must be contacted with job opportunities.
“It's frankly very disheartening as we visit our members across the country and meet so many of them really poised for growth, ready to make investments, ready to bring people on board,” said Ralph Egües, executive director of the NHLA. “They work hard to implement best practices and but for the ability to staff their crews, they're ready for big things and we've got this administration working against the needs of a lot of people in the country but very acutely affecting Hispanics in the landscape industry, so we've got to do what we can.”
Many landscapers – as well as other industries like hospitality and food production – rely on the H-2B program to find employees they say they can't find domestically.