Spring is almost here, which means landscape professionals are looking to fill out their staffs with hard-working, enterprising and motivated employees. And then they won't be able to find any.
So get ready for a crop of new stories about H-2B, the guest worker program that so many in the Green Industry rely on for seasonal employees, like this one from Reuters:
As President George W. Bush's plans for a guest worker program languishes in a backlash against immigration, employers both large and small say they rely on Hispanic workers to keep the economy running.
Landscaper Fred Hollmann jumps through legal hoops every year to bring a handful of Hispanics to work in yards and gardens in southwest Ohio.
This year, he could only get six temporary work visas for non citizens. "They work hard, they show up every day," said Hollman. "I'd love to hire more."
Criticized on one hand for taking jobs from unemployed Americans or for working too cheaply, Latinos are complimented on the other for doing work others won't do -- a tightrope where stereotypes seem to work both for and against them. (Click the link up top for the complete story.)
Unfortunately, these stories are going to be even more common this spring because of problems we've been hearing about in the H-2B Visa process, and the fact that roughly half of our U.S Congressmen are too busy running for president to actually do their jobs as congressmen and come up with a comprehensive immigration reform package. — Mike Seuffert