Included in the FY 2022 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill is a provision that would effectively prohibit hotels from using the H-2B program because of our industry’s high unemployment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic (see below and pages 46,47 of the bill). Beyond this shortsighted and politically motived unemployment provisions, which would have a profound impact on the hospitality industry, there are a number of additional poison pill provisions in the bill including:
- Prohibiting construction industries from using the program even in seasonal locations or occupations;
- Increasing the baseline for wages to at least 150% of the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher;
- Requiring wage compliance with a collective bargaining agreement for your industry in your area, even if you are not a party to the agreement;
- Banning participation in the program for labor/workforce related violations
AHLA has been meeting with members of the House Appropriations Committee about how harmful this provision would be to our industry. Our messaging is simple:
No industry was hit harder by COVID than hospitality and even as we come out of the pandemic, our unemployment rates remain high. This language would do irreparable harm to our industry’s recovery. Because of the incredibly competitive hiring landscape, there is not a domestic workforce to draw upon to take these part time, seasonal jobs making the H-2B program even more critical for businesses that utilize it. Further this provision would benefit those industries not impacted by the pandemic.
I have attached the H-2B Workforce Coalition letter which outlines our opposition to these provisions.
Finally, I urge you to call your Representative today and ask him or her to urge the House Appropriations Committee leadership and their Party Leadership to remove Sections 116, 117 and 118 of Fiscal Year 2022 Labor, HHS Appropriations Bill. You can reach your Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Once connected to the office, please ask to speak to the staff person who handles Department of Labor appropriations.
We will continue to work to have this harmful language removed as the bill makes its way to the floor for consideration by the full House of Representatives. In addition, we have begun discussions with members of the Senate appropriations committee to endeavor to ensure that similar language is not included in their version of the Labor H appropriations bill.