H-2B Employers Fight to Keep Wages Suppressed

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In January, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that a court decision had forced it to recalculate wage rates for H-2B visa guest workers (seasonal, non-agricultural) to better align wages with “marketplace realities.” The new wage rates were set to go into effect on January 1, 2012, but were recently moved up to October 1, 2011, causing apoplexy among many H-2B employers, particularly in the seafood industry where wages may rise by as much as 30 percent. “Department [of Labor]spokesman Joshua Lamont said the wage increase will eliminate what the court concluded was unfair treatment of H2-B workers…. The seafood industry countered that the wage increase swings the balance of out whack.”

Really, can you blame the seafood industry? They were led by experience to believe that the point of the H-2B visa program was to drive down the prevailing wage rate. Now they are going to have to start paying their employees closer to the fair market value of their work. If they’re not careful they just might start attracting more American workers. Hoping to fend off such a dreaded result, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) wrote to DOL Secretary Hilda Solis “arguing the wage increase comes as unemployment rates remain above average and as the nation struggles to recover from the recession.” Mr. Harris seems to think the way to put Americans back to work is to bring in foreign guest workers and pay them a pittance.

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11 Comments

  1. avatar

    Well every once in a while we get a face on this immigration farce. Here is a congressman (republican by the way) living in MD, and fighting to allow these factories to not only keep the illegals but to keep the wages so low that an American could not feed his family. Is this not crazy? Hey Mr Haris ,how about taking care of Maryland’s unemployment. I’m sure with reps like you, its in bad shape.

  2. avatar
    Dan Murchison on

    One fact that seems to always be over looked about illegal immigration is the overpopulation factor. Most of these immigrants come from countries that are so overpopulated that they can’t find work and the standard of living is so bad that to go anywhere is an improvement. And if we don’t control the numbers coming here we will soon be just another overpopulated country with starving children,low wages, hunger, depleted natural resources, etc. In addition, because of our open borders and non-enforced immigration laws we receive the lowest educated and criminal immigrants who come here to have more children and lower our standard of living. Our only chance is that we the people stand up and demand that our Representatives, Congressmen, Senators and yes, our President, take the necessary actions to stop this insanity!

  3. avatar

    Who do these prople think they are saying that the “illegals” only do the work that Amaericans WON’T DO!?!
    tHERE IS NO SUCH THING!! WHO IN THE HELL DO THEY THINK DID THOSE SAME JOBS BEFORE THE ILLEGAL INVASION!!
    WE ARE DOOMED IF WE DON’T STOP IMMIGRATION OF ALL KINDS UNTIL EVERY LEGAL U.S. WORKER WHO WANTS A JOB HAS ONE, PERIOD!
    PLEASE EMAIL ALL OF YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, FROM LOCAL TO NATIONAL, AND TELL THEM THAT YOU INSIST THAT THEY FIRST ENFORCE THE LAWS, GET THE SOUTHERN BORDER SECURE AND DEPORT AS MANY AS YOU CAN CATCH! AND TO CATCH THEM JUST GO TO ANY CONSTRUCTION SITE AND “BINGO”
    THERE THEY ARE!!

  4. avatar

    get rid of illegal Aliens and that would solve our problems, they just keep giving to them and giving to them when we Americans can’t afford to pay our own bills, but that’s ok you don’t qualify because you are American is BS.

    • avatar

      Vikc , i understand your point but let me tell you something , we are all illien on this world , we are all brother’stand sister for God , please we are all elies , are the winter time how many amewrican you out there , please for God sake stop saying eliens

  5. avatar

    AHA….maybe our government will “accidentally” come to the aid of legal AMERICAN workers by enforcing laws for the H2-B workers who come in here and allow the businesses to underpay them and deprive the real taxpayers of America the right to work. Everyone knows (if you have half a brain) that the businesses who are underpaying non-legal workers do not give a damn about US Citizens; it is the bottom line….THEIR profits…not anything else!

  6. avatar

    The Government and the Business owners don’t care about the American Workers, it is all about the bottom line where they get richer and the Hell with the America People who got them where they are as a Company or an Owner. These owners buy and pay for the Politicians and thats is why our Government could care less about the America worker it is all about GREED for their backpockets. Give the foreign workers everything at our expense and the He!! with Americans as they think We will continue on paying for all of their freebees’. The time is NOW my Fellow Americans is to cut of the hand that feeds their GREED.

  7. avatar

    The example of Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) reminds us that there are Republicans who are just as bad as Democrats on immigration. The guy needs a primary challenger to ask some meaningful questions and give working Americans someone worthwhile to vote for in that district.

  8. avatar

    Eric:
    I feel the same way about employment in nursing, a stable good wage job for US workers, but the House saw fit to bring in foreign nurses once more with the passage of H. R. 1933. While the numbers at this time do not appear to be great, it has been the Chambers wish to continue a defunct program which will compete with American nurses for these jobs and in my opinion, drive down wages. This too was pushed by a Republican-Lamar Smith. Why aren’t we looking for other solutions such as increasing classes, faculty in schools of healthcare, or directing our many federal grants for students into positions where we actually need workers?

    • avatar

      You are absolutely right. We import foreign nurses when there are well-qualified American students who cannot get into university nursing programs because they are full.