Sometimes advocacy efforts are about debating big policy. Sometimes meetings with our elected officials and their staff are about building recognition of our industry and the many environmental, economic, and health benefits we provide society. Sometimes however, these meetings are more serious, more real. April 15’s #SaveH2B fly-in was very much the latter.
It’s April, and no landscape professional worth his weight in gold is free to take a day or two off from their business, which is why when I saw the briefing room overflowing with contractors and allies, I was stuck by how important and immediate the concerns over the current H-2B problem are. Dozens of contractors, members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, and state association partners rallied to make a difference. I had the opportunity to participate in five meetings throughout the day, and I listened to our team from New Jersey, one after the other, explain the very real ways they are struggling due to the failings of this onerous but important program.
But every cloud has a silver lining, and if this trip has one, it is that I don’t think I was the only one who felt the pain. The people we met, even those with personal or political concerns about how this program relates to the bigger picture of immigration reform, felt it too. Hopefully that translates into some kind of help for the landscape companies so hurt by the recent cap hit and uncertainty around wages determinations.
Whether you made the trip or not, please continue to support the efforts of your trade associations who are fighting the good fight, and please contact your Congressional offices and ask they help #SaveH2B!
Dominick Mondi is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association and the New Jersey Green Industry Council.