Statement from AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler on the recent announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that it plans to increase the number of available H-2B visas:
Seasonal workers are on the front lines, and these jobs should be good, union jobs with fair wages and safe working conditions. However, the current structure of the H-2B program has enabled rampant and often egregious abuse. Continued increases in the number of visas without improved safeguards put migrant and U.S. workers alike at unacceptable risk. Rather than expanding an exploitative model, we renew our call for the administration and Congress to prioritize humanitarian pathways and implement extensive H-2B reforms that lift labor standards, hold employers accountable, and ensure full rights and fair treatment of all workers in seasonal industries.
We hear a lot about labor shortages these days, but the shortage of good jobs is a crisis that gets far too little attention. Workers are no longer willing to risk their lives to work for meager wages without child care support, paid leave or basic safety protections, and they are taking collective action in record numbers to demand dignified treatment and a fair share of the wealth they help create. This is a critical time to make real gains in pay and standards for work that has been chronically undervalued, and unions expect a coherent policy agenda to help achieve that goal.
Contact: Danielle Noel, 202-637-5018