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Appropriations Committee Votes to Lower Wages for Exploitable Workforce

Washington, D.C. (July 14, 2016) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America –made the following statement today regarding the H-2B visa provision in the House FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Funding Bill:

LIUNA is deeply disappointed that the House Appropriations Committee voted to make the flawed and misused H-2B guest worker visa program even worse by allowing employers to pay less to guest workers; continuing a long and troubling history of exploitation. The Committee voted to let employers take advantage of so-called private wage surveys in setting wages for H-2B visa employees rather than the prevailing wage, which is a more fair and accurate method of setting wage standards.


The half-million members of LIUNA are proud of the skilled, safe, and productive union workers we bring to every construction project. It is very concerning that H-2B visas are being allotted to contractors who time and time again are bringing in unskilled workers they can exploit to perform the jobs of experienced construction professionals. Expanding the visa program and removing wage protections when hundreds of thousands of LIUNA members and their fellow tradesmen and women across America are ready and able to work, is not only bad for workers everywhere, but bad for America’s infrastructure.


The willingness of many in Congress to unite behind lowering wages in the H-2B visa program and allowing for the exploitation of these workers is a disgrace. LIUNA urges Congress to reject the proposal, support America's workers, and to strengthen wages and standards rather than driving them in the dirt.


The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on
the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.