The Crush May 2023 - 3

FEDERAL FOCUS
RESOLUTIONS INTRODUCED TO REPEAL H-2A
ADVERSE EFFECT WAGE RATE RULE
Last week, Congressional Review Act resolutions were
introduced in both the House and Senate to prevent
the implementation of the Department of Labor's (DOL)
H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) rule.
For years, farmers have urged the DOL to consider
commonsense changes to make the H-2A program more
workable. However, this new regulation appears to make
matters worse as it renders the administration of the
program more arduous for both farmers and agencies,
increasing the complexity and cost for farmers who
utilize the H-2A program.
What is the AEWR?
AEWR is the minimum hourly wage that employers
must pay to temporary foreign workers on H-2A visas,
as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor each
year. Its purpose is to prevent negative impacts on the
wages of domestic workers in the same field or region.
The AEWR varies by state and region and is designed
to protect both foreign and domestic workers from
exploitation and wage depression.
Under this new rule, different job types on farms will
have differing AEWRs. An employee will need to be
paid at a different rate depending on which task they
are performing, such as operating equipment, or doing
general vineyard labor. This change inflates H-2A wage
rates and increases the administrative burden in tracking
each activity.
Employers who use the H-2A program must compensate
their employees at the highest of:
* the AEWR;
* the prevailing hourly or piece rate;
* the agreed-upon collective bargaining wage; or
* the applicable Federal, State or local minimum
wage.
The new AEWR rates put California at $18.65 per hour,
which is the highest rate in the US. Many southern states
have the lowest AEWR at $13.67 per hour. Overall, the
AEWR has increased by 7.5% on average across the
nation.
How is the AEWR Calculated?
In the past, DOL based the AEWR on the Farm Labor
Survey conducted by the USDA. This approach was
criticized for lumping together data for field and
livestock workers, leading to a single AEWR for all
non-range H-2A jobs. This method did not account for
specialized or higher paid job opportunities like H-2A
supervisors or tractor trailer drivers.
To address this, the DOL developed a new method that
relies on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational
Employment and Wage Statistics Survey Program. This
new approach uses statewide or national average hourly
wages for specific job classifications to calculate the
AEWR.
Resolution Support
Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-05) and Chairman of the House
Committee on Agriculture, Glenn " GT " Thompson
(PA-15) championed the introduction of the resolution to
reject the DOL's H-2A AEWR rule. Senator Tim Scott
(R-SC) and Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) are leading the
efforts in the Senate. The resolution has gained support
from 54 co-sponsors in the House and 26 co-sponsors in
the Senate.
This resolution is supported by over 590 agriculture
groups as a part of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition,
which includes CAWG.
More Information:
* Federal Register: Federal Register ::
Adverse Effect Wage Rate Methodology
for the Temporary Employment of H-2A
Nonimmigrants in Non-Range Occupations in
the United States
* DOL Q&A: 2023-AEWR-Final-Rule-FAQs_
implementation_FINAL.pdf (dol.gov)
2023 Adverse Effect Wage Rates
Source: Department of Labor
www.cawg.org | Page 3
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/02/28/2023-03756/adverse-effect-wage-rate-methodology-for-the-temporary-employment-of-h-2a-nonimmigrants-in-non-range https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/02/28/2023-03756/adverse-effect-wage-rate-methodology-for-the-temporary-employment-of-h-2a-nonimmigrants-in-non-range https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/02/28/2023-03756/adverse-effect-wage-rate-methodology-for-the-temporary-employment-of-h-2a-nonimmigrants-in-non-range https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/02/28/2023-03756/adverse-effect-wage-rate-methodology-for-the-temporary-employment-of-h-2a-nonimmigrants-in-non-range https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/02/28/2023-03756/adverse-effect-wage-rate-methodology-for-the-temporary-employment-of-h-2a-nonimmigrants-in-non-range http://2023-AEWR-Final-Rule-FAQs_implementation_FINAL.pdf(dol.gov http://2023-AEWR-Final-Rule-FAQs_implementation_FINAL.pdf(dol.gov http://2023-AEWR-Final-Rule-FAQs_implementation_FINAL.pdf(dol.gov http://2023-AEWR-Final-Rule-FAQs_implementation_FINAL.pdf(dol.gov http://www.cawg.org

The Crush May 2023

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