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Raising H2B Cap Without Worker Protections Threatens Good Jobs

Washington, D.C. (April 21, 2021) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today:

It is deeply troubling and disappointing that the Biden Administration would increase the number of available H-2B visas without strengthening protections for all workers - both foreign and U.S. The H-2B visa program is a deeply flawed program which has been misused by contractors who use the visas to hire a captive foreign workforce who have no voice and very little recourse when employers cheat or fail to provide safe working conditions.

 

LIUNA urges the Administration to implement stronger worker protections for H-2B workers, including: 1) Deny H-2B labor certifications in any industries with an unemployment rate over 6%; 2) Debarment of H-2B employers who have broken the law, including but not limited to wage and hour, health and safety, and human trafficking violations; 3) Require H-2B employers to pay the local or national prevailing wage, whichever is higher; and 4) Provide legal status protections and work authorization to H-2B workers who suffer abuse on the job.

 

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on working men and women. With millions of unemployed workers in top H-2B occupations, increasing the cap undermines efforts to get U.S. workers back on their feet. It also exposes more foreign H-2B workers to the egregious abuses that pervade the program.

 

We need the Biden Administration to protect both foreign and U.S. workers by refraining from further increases to the number of H-2B visas and instead focus on implementing critically needed worker protections in the H-2B program.

 

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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 the United States and Canada.