Issue Update 1/11/19

Guestworkers/Government Funding

The partial government shutdown has officially reached the three week mark, tying the record for the longest federal government funding lapse in history. In the midst of this, FRA is working with our guestworker reform coalition partners to seek permanent H-2B cap relief as part of any agreement that is ultimately forged to end the partial government shutdown. Attached is a letter that Reps. Harris (R-MD) and Pingree (D-ME) and Senators Tillis (R-NC) and King (I-ME) plan to send to House and Senate leadership advocating for this outcome. The goal is to add signatures for as many Members of Congress as possible by the close of business Monday, January 14.  

We need your help to present a strong letter of support to leadership by taking a few minutes today to call your Senators and Representatives. The message is simple, ask them to sign on to the attached letter by Monday. You can reach your elected officials through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to the office, ask to speak to the staff person who handles H-2B issues. It is fine to leave a message on their voice mail. Explain the urgent need for cap relief and below are a few bullet points on why it is important to the forest products industry:

  • Keeps the U.S. wood supply chain competitive internationally;
  • Domestic U.S. workers are typically not interested in these types of forestry jobs;
  • Provides a workforce that is able to be both seasonal and itinerant.
We remain confident that a compromise on a spending bill will be reached, but a timetable is uncertain. Thank you for your help and for again making these important phone calls to do all we can to include a solution to H-2B guestworker visa.