by David DeJohn, NHCLP
We’re fully into summer now, and I hope everyone is having a good, successful season so far in spite of the astronomical fuel prices. We are all having to make adjustments in our pricing to account for the increases in fuel and materials, which means the estimates we gave last year and during the winter for work this year also need to be adjusted. So far, for me, as I’ve let clients know about price increases and changes to their estimates there has been very little push back beyond some quiet grumbling. Everyone is in the same boat at the moment, client and contractor alike, so there seems to be a tacit understanding of the situation. Surprisingly, with everything going on in the world and here at home economically, I’m still as crazy busy as last year and booking into next year. The phone is still ringing and no one has backed out of their projects yet. Not sure if that’s a sign of optimism or not, but I’ll take it for now.
By now you have all received a copy of the NHLA By-Laws (at least all voting members) with the proposed changes. I hope you will take some time to read through as we will be voting to accept the changes or not at the Field Day on September 14, and it’s important that you understand the changes we are proposing. If anyone has any questions you can certainly get in touch with me, and I will be happy to discuss it with you.
By the time this issue of the Newsletter is out we will have had our first Twilight Meeting of the season at Exeter’s Gale Park; there’s another one coming up this month in Dunbarton to be hosted by Mike Garrity of GardenWorks, and another in August to be hosted by Miracle Farms. We have our annual Golf Tournament, which I believe is already sold out, coming up in August, as well, and our Field Day event at Shaker Village is coming in September. Lots to do and as Certification credits for this year have been bumped back up to a requirement of four, these are good ways to receive some credits.
Recently the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Seasonal Employment Alliance hosted about 80 professionals in our field to go to Congress and lobby for and educate Congressional members on the importance of reforming and re-instating parts of the H-2B program.
This was in a recent NALP newsletter:
“H.R. 3897. The Returning Worker Exemption Act of 2021 would reenact the returning worker exemption that would exempt returning workers from counting against the 66,000-cap if the H-2B worker is a returning worker in any of the previous three fiscal years.
“It also puts in place provisions to modernize the application process, create additional worker protection measures, and strengthen integrity measures by increasing fines and possible disbarment for reckless and willful misconduct by H-2B employers.
“The landscape industry is the largest user of the H-2B program, and over the past few years a lack of H-2B workers has forced landscape companies to turn away customers, scale back services, and cancel capital equipment purchases.
“2022 research found that a drop in H-2B program admissions in a specific community did not boost labor market opportunities for U.S. workers but rather worsened them because opportunities for U.S. workers suffered without having enough H-2B workers to assist with seasonal/temporary labor needs.”
I have reached out to Congresswoman Annie Kuster to see where HR3897 stands and to find out what her position on this important bill is. I have invited her to speak to our Association on this issue so I’ll keep you posted when and if I hear back from her. In the meantime if you have been affected by this issue, as I know many of you have, then I urge you to get in touch with Congresswoman Kuster’s office and voice your opinion.
Well, that’s it for now. Have a great summer! l