ANLA Launches Season 2 of Washington Impact

November 4, 2011 - 08:57

Season 2 of ANLA’s Washington Impact video newsletter launches with a look at the labor crisis facing our industry.

Season 2 of ANLA’s Washington Impact video newsletter launches with a look at the labor crisis facing our industry. The series will run through the November 2012 elections examining the threats emerging from an increasingly contentious atmosphere in Washington. According to ANLA’s vice president of government relations, Craig Regelbrugge, “I’ve never seen more divided debate in Washington. As parties reach out to the extremes of their voter base we are at risk of suffering both direct attacks and collateral damage.”

Episode 1 features three different videos looking at the real impact of both legislative and regulatory attacks on our industry’s workforce. Art Parkerson, Lancaster Farms (VA) states, “We used to be able to have a complete work force of teenagers. That’s ancient history. Now we rely on immigrant labor.”

Our industry’s access to immigrant labor is at risk. Regelbrugge said, “We have I-9 audits happening at a record pace – 1,000 at a time. You end up having to fire a bunch of your workforce with no recourse.” On the regulatory side, legal channels for immigrant guest workers are being dismantled. Speaking about a recent threat, Regelbrugge stated, “Until it was blocked temporarily, we had the labor department arbitrarily requiring [H2-B guest worker employing] landscapers to raise their wages by 40 to 70 percent on September 30th – without regard to whether they are bound by existing contracts.”

Over the next year Washington Impact, produced with visionary support from the Ball Horticultural Company, will examine the ongoing budget debates, sustainability initiatives, energy policy and the farm bill. "ANLA's Washington Impact series will address the looming threats to our industry, as well as identify the opportunities. We're happy to support this effort to inform the industry," said Anna Ball, president and CEO of Ball Horticultural Company. To sign up to receive email announcements of future episodes, register for free on the ANLA Knowledge Center at http://bit.ly/ANLAregister. The three videos in episode 1 of Washington Impact Season 2 are available at http://bit.ly/WashingtonImpactS2E1.

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