Supporting the H2B Program
As many of you know we were successful at bringing in only a very small portion of our H-2B workers this year. The H-2B workers make up a great deal of our workforce during our peak season each year. The workers usually arrive between February and April but, due to the massive dysfunction with the DOL there was a Visa Lottery and companies were chosen at random whether or not they received their workers. Only one of our three applications were chosen and approved and our workers did not arrive until July. From there we had to figure out how to work with only 1/3 of our temporary workforce. Sadly, there were a tremendous number of businesses that did not get approved at all. This resulted with many businesses having to close their doors this year.
Although we managed to fulfill our obligations to our customers it was not without sacrifice. We turned away new clients and jobs in order to focus on the pending orders at hand. We unexpectedly increased our prices to make up for the extra labor required to fulfill the orders in production. Then we had to plan how to take advantage of making the most of our production since we would only have our workers for four months rather than nine months. These were all things that we were not prepared to face. We’ve used the H-2B program since 2007 and had never experienced a crisis like we did this past year.
Even if you do not use this program please know that your suppliers and your contractors most likely do! And, if we do not receive a sufficient amount of laborers each year to perform our peak load work it will ultimately affect you as well. The only solution to this problem for us and the thousands of employers who depend so desperately on the H-2B program is by getting involved.
We are a member of SEA (Seasonal Employment Alliance). They are advocates for businesses like us. They do all the lobbying at the Congress level. SEA’s priorities include program reform, cap relief, and significantly increasing H-2B program user participation. SEA was founded in October 2017 to help unify the industry and increase our grassroots presence on Capitol Hill. In order to achieve short-term and permanent cap relief we must dramatically increase the number of employers involved in our political advocacy efforts. You can join by clicking HERE.
You can also contribute by completing the Letter of Intent template we send each year. Since we are a supplier we do not have contracts per job like most contractors. Therefore, as part of our application process we are required to provide Letters of Intent showing evidence of need for these workers.
We also encourage you to contact your local representatives’ offices. Most importantly, at this moment there is a letter circulating urging House Leadership to include the House cap relief language in the final 2019 DHS Appropriations bill. The goal is to get over 100 Members of Congress to sign this letter. Please contact your House Members and encourage them to sign this letter. Texas House Members are below:
Contacts for Congressman John Carter
One Financial Centre, 1717 North I.H. 35, Suite 303, Round Rock, TX 78664
Contacts for Senator John Cornyn
(512) 469-6034 ext.15
Chase Tower, 221 West Sixth Street, Suite 1530, Austin, TX 78701
Contacts for Senator Ted Cruz
300 E. 8th Street, Suite 961, Austin, TX 78701-3226
We hope these efforts will continue to be successful and look forward to the day where we can focus on our businesses vs. lobbying for common sense improvements to the H-2B program.
Thank you for support during this trying time for the industry.
Cobra Stone Inc.