FRA and other members of the H-2B Workforce Coalition are following up on our win, this April, in defending last year’s preliminary injunction blocking the federal Department of Labor’s 2012 H-2B Guestworker “Program Rule,” which would have made the H-2B program unworkable. This “Program Rule” governs the logistics of the H-2B guestworker program, which covers foreign guestworkers employed in the handplanting of tree seedlings. The Coalition is now filing a motion with the same 11th Circuit Court (in Florida) to convert that Court’s previous “preliminary injunction” into a “permanent injunction.”
In one of the more dramatic discrepancies in interpreting data we’re aware of, the American Transportation Research Institute—the American Trucking Associations’ research arm—disputed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s estimate of the financial “benefits” the new Hours of Service Rule would provide to the trucking sector. According to FMCSA’s projection, the new HOS rule’s disputed “restart” provision—which establishes new off-duty requirements between drivers’ work periods—will save the U.S. trucking sector $133 million a year, apparently in drivers’ health and public safety benefits. ATRI, finding FMCSA’s sampling methodology and assumptions seriously flawed, concludes, on the contrary, that the “restart” provision will cost the sector $189 million annually.
On June 25, President Obama released the 21-page President’s Climate Action Plan, an outline of priorities and policy initiatives addressing the threat of climate change. The Plan stresses three courses of action:
On June 27, the Senate passed its comprehensive Immigration Bill (S 744)—unfortunately including the terms of Senator Merkley’s (D-Oregon) amendment, placing unworkable stipulations on reforestation contractors seeking to obtain visas for H-2B guestworkers. Attention now shifts to the House, which has indicated that it will probably pass a series of bills, rather than a comprehensive bill, to address such controversial issues such as amnesty, treatment of minor-age aliens, securing the border, a path forward to citizenship—and reform of guestworker programs, including the H-2B program that regulates guestworkers employed by reforestation contractors.