We are proud to announce that TNLA President Amy Graham has won National Legislative Champion of the Year Award by the Federation of Employers & Workers of America! TNLA advocates for our members on pertinent issues such as labor, pest and disease, and more. We try to get our members involved and their voices heard. Go to https://www.tnlaonline.org/issues.html today to learn more!
IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM FEWA: Jacob Monty with Monty & Ramirez, LLP, Attorneys at Law
Given the current administration's sharp shift in immigration enforcement, I-9 compliance is quickly gaining reputation amongst employers as an area fraught with harsh penalties for employers failing to comply with its maze of compliance requirements. In recent months, large-scale raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") agents have struck chains as popular as 7 Eleven and have reached meat-processing plants as far away as rural Tennessee. For many, the raids have also hit close to home, as more than 150 people were arrested just last August at a trailer manufacturer plant near Paris, Texas. With immigration enforcement gaining traction, it is no surprise that many towns with significant immigration population are paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. Some vulnerable residents find themselves taking drastic measures to avoid attention, such as refusing to leave the house or even avoid showing up for work altogether. Likewise, employers are not immune from the consequences of immigration enforcement. Even as few companies continue to be battered by workplace raids, an increasing number of employers are feeling the effect of immigration enforcement through the sharp rise in I-9 audits and heavy fines for subsequent noncompliance.
While it is undeniable that enforcement is at an all-time high, employers need to take this opportunity to ensure that their employee records are in order. While some employers continue to use E-Verify, a few employers have begun experimenting with IMAGE-a certification program approved by ICE-or electronic preparation services to improve their compliance. Despite the efforts, however, the reality is that many employers consistently fail to meet the minimum requirements set forth by law. And even those who do participate in E-Verify or IMAGE are not exempt from an unannounced audit or raid.
If you are an employer seeking to minimize your interactions with ICE, it is imperative to understand the importance of keeping and updating your employee records. For one, employers should ensure that a Form I-9 exists on file for each employee hired after November 6, 1986. For another, it is crucial to begin training your human resources personnel, managers, or supervisors in the area of immigration compliance. Having a knowledgeable and proactive human resources department can often serve as the first line of defense against suspicious or fraudulent documents-a magnet for I-9 audits. In addition, be cognizant of your employees' expiring employment authorization documents and be proactive in their re-verification. Finally, for many employers, there is no better defense against an external ICE audit than conducting your own. For over twenty years, Monty and Ramirez has pioneered conducting mock audits for our clients. These mock audits can alert you to deficiencies in employee records while bolstering your good-faith defense against any allegations that may arise the future. Our mock audits have helped countless employers avoid or mitigate potentially catastrophic immigration consequences. To put our mock audits and other best practices to work for you, please contact us at 281-493-5529. As another tool, here is an I-9 Compliance Checklist provided by Monty & Ramirez, LLP.
FEWA | Federation of Employers & Workers of America | 877-422-3392 | www.fewaglobal.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NCTC OFFERS AAS IN HORTICULTURE
NCTC Regents recently approved an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Horticulture, to begin in the Fall 2018 semester.
“Horticulture is the science and art of growing garden plants for the economic, aesthetic, and nutritional well-being of society,” said NCTC Horticulture Professor Ashley Hartman. “It is not only a multi-billion dollar industry that offers increasing job opportunities for students seeking careers in the area, but it also offers countless opportunities for hobbyists.
The Horticulture AAS can be completed through a mix of face-to-face, hybrid, and online classes. The program is designed to take two years, or 64 weeks, to complete.
Upon completion of the Horticulture AAS, graduates will be able to identify, propagate, and cultivate horticultural crops, apply the principles and elements of design to create landscape and floral designs, analyze and adjust soil conditions to maximize production of horticultural crops, grow horticultural crops in protected environments, and identify garden pests and recommend control measures.
With this degree, students will find employment opportunities in fruit & vegetable production management, landscape design, greenhouse, nursery, and garden center management, plant propagation, community garden coordination, floral design, sales and marketing management and many other fields.
“We want our Horticulture students to be matched with careers that are not only fulfilling but that ultimately suit their natural gifts and acquired skills,” said Hartman. “We are glad to visit with future and current students to counsel them on career options and at the end of the curriculum we aid our students with job searches.”
For more information on the Horticulture AAS, visit nctc.edu or contact Ashley Hartman at (940) 668-7731 ext. 4488.
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is announcing a new effort to investigate the users of the H-2B seasonal worker visa program, with a special focus on the landscape sector. The landscape sector is the largest user of H-2B visas, both across the United States and in Texas.
The Department press release states the new effort’s purpose –
“This initiative demonstrates our commitment to educate employers about those rules and enforce them to safeguard American jobs, protect guest workers, and level the playing field for law-abiding employers.
Last year, WHD investigations found more than $105 million in back wages for more than 97,000 workers in industries with a high prevalence of H-2B workers, including the landscaping industry. A key component of the investigations is ensuring that employers recruit U.S. workers before applying for permission to employ temporary nonimmigrant workers.”
Landscape will not be the only sector targeted by the Department of Labor. The WHD announced on Sept. 5th a similar initiative for the hotel and resort industry. A portion of the investigations are being said to be educational in purpose by providing employers with tools to utilize in order to ensure better compliance.
TNLA remains actively engaged alongside our national partners in monitoring the ongoing nature of this new initiative and we will update our members as more information becomes available.
For the full Department of Labor press release please click here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/ whd20180912 If you are interested in receiving future emails from TNLA on H-2B related news and events please email Ryan Skrobarczyk at Ryan@tnlaonline.org.