As we reported here, the adverse effect wage rate (AEWR) for H-2A workers and workers performing like services will rise significantly in many states next year. Given our continued struggle with an adequate supply of labor, allowing this AEWR increase will undoubtedly heighten our labor concerns.
Growers who utilize the H-2A program for agricultural labor will soon face mandated wage increases of 6% nationwide, and as much as 23% in some states.
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) is seeking to introduce a bill if the opportunity presents itself to freeze the AEWR until 2020 to prevent this drastic increase in wages. This is a potential short term solution but it will provide time for the Departments of Labor and Agriculture to develop a workable solution that better suits the market.
Western Growers members that are concerned about the increasing AEWR are encouraged to call their Members of Congress to ask them to join Senator Tillis in this effort. The window of opportunity to encourage action is very short; the 115th session of Congress is almost over, potentially ending next week.
Please reach out to Jonathan Sarager with any questions at 202-296-0191.
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