Action Alert: H-2B Program in the Horse Industry

The American Horse Council wants you to take action now to save the H-2B program. The H-2B program is vital to the $102 billion horse industry, and new DOL rules threaten the ability of the horse industryThe American Horse Council wants you to take action now to save the H-2B program. The H-2B program is vital to the $102 billion horse industry, and new DOL rules threaten the ability of the horse industry

Story originally posted by Horsecity.com Staff

The American Horse Council wants you to take action now to save the H-2B program.

The H-2B program is vital to the $102 billion horse industry, and new DOL rules threaten the ability of the horse industry to participate in that program.

The Department of Labor will begin using a new formula for calculating prevailing wages on September 30. This regulation will impact H-2B users who have labor certifications that are valid after September 30, 2011, and anyone hiring H-2B workers in the future. These new wages will need to be paid to current and future H-2B workers and any U.S. workers hired in connection with the H-2B recruitment process. More information on the wage rule can be found on the American Horse Council website.

Additionally, in December the DOL is planning to finalize a second rule that will affect the program further. The rule will likely require employers to hire any qualified U.S. worker up to three days before the H-2B worker is scheduled to begin and require employers to pay transportation and subsistence costs for potential U.S. workers. A full description of the proposed rule and AHC comments on the proposed rule can be found on the AHC website.

The horse industry relies heavily on the H-2B program and both new rules could significantly impact employers who utilize it. The AHC fears these actions could make the H-2B program essentially unusable for many employers.

Because of the severe impact these DOL actions could have on the small and seasonal businesses that rely on the H-2B program, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives plan to send a letter to the DOL, asking it to rescind the new wage rule and abandon plans to finalize the March 18, 2011, proposed H-2B rule.

The American Horse Council urges you to call your senators and representative and ask them to sign the letter to the DOL being circulated by Congressmen Robert Wittman (R-VA) regarding the H-2B program.

The deadline for your members of Congress to sign the letter is September 6.

You can reach your senators or representative by calling the Congressional switchboard at (202) 225-3121. Ask for your senators' or representative's office, and then ask to speak to the staff person who handles immigration issues.

Quick Facts:

— The H-2B program is vital to the $102 billion horse industry, and new DOL rules threaten the ability of the horse industry to participate in that program.

— Horse industry employers do not use the H-2B program by choice. They are forced to use it because American workers are not seeking these jobs.

— In the current economic conditions the new rules will drastically increase the cost of an already costly system and could be devastating to employers who rely on H-2B workers.

— Most horse industry employers who use the H-2B program also employ American workers in other capacities and support many other jobs.

— If current users of the H-2B program are no longer able to afford to participate, the jobs of many Americans employed by the horse industry will be put at risk.

— Ask your Senators and Representative to please sign the bipartisan letter to the DOL being circulated by Congressmen Robert Wittman (R-VA) and others.

If you have any questions, please contact the American Horse Council. http://www.horsecouncil.org