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MAY 2017

Director Update

Dan Fazio, Director

April is always a BIG H-2A month. First, we completed a series of job fairs which confirmed there is a dramatic shortage of workers who are interested in seasonal agricultural jobs. We filed approximately 30 new H-2A contracts, more than one a day. Based on positive feedback from members, we formalized a contract with a top notch transportation logistics supplier who has negotiated fantastic airfare rates with 4 carriers - Aeroméxico, Alaska, Delta, and Volaris. As previously reported, we became the first H-2A provider to recruit workers from El Salvador, and everything looks good there. Finally, on April 21 we stopped accepting new requests for H-2A contracts for 2017 in order to focus our attention on existing members who have submitted requests.

The training department was just as busy. We kicked off the webinar season and I was happy to see how many members are taking advantage of our season passes: it is not too late to purchase one. With a season pass, you are automatically registered for every webinar, saving you the hassle of registering, and we send you the handouts and recordings of all the webinars - even the ones you missed. What a great way to build a training library for your operations. Learn more click here.

In early April we completed a new Employee Rights and Responsibilities handbook, and we are sending drafts to members using the new template. Thank you to the attorneys at Stoel Rives law firm who assisted with the review and edits. Handbooks create a positive first impression and tell workers that you care. They are customized for your operation and the unique rules for your state. And we are currently drafting a special handbook for dairy farms - see the wafla product spotlight below.

We hope you utilize our member's only resources. Check out the new Labor Brief on Pay Back Wages for Piece Rate Rest Breaks along with a beta version of a back pay piece rate rest break calculator in Excel that will calculate the amount owed for rest breaks including interest. Access Labor Brief under the Employer Resources page under the Member's Only tab. Click here.

As always, thanks for being a member.


Dan Fazio, Executive Director


HRAnswers - Great Question!

Q. From what I understand, MSPA requires anyone driving any vehicle transporting 10 or more workers to have a completed Medical Certificate - which seems redundant to the requirements for a WA Driver’s License except I guess a doctor can verify hearing and possible disease that could interfere with driving. WA state requires that any CDL license holder have a full/comprehensive annual physical. So can a driver we use that has a CDL for hauling fruit (without endorsements) be exempt from needing this WH-515 Doctor Certificate for driving a shuttle bus with 14 workers/passengers?


Buses, Vans, Shuttles: Ag Transportation Rules & Reg's
- Get on Board

Thursday, May 11 (11A to Noon)

Learn more here.

Sponsored by:

Wafla members can submit unlimited HR questions through HRAnswers located under the members only tab at our website.


Annual Job Fairs Post Report

In April, wafla in part of its ongoing efforts to recruit and hire U.S. domestic workers for H-2A job openings, facilitated its third annual job fair tour in Eastern Washington (Kennewick, Granger and Wenatchee). They were held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and advertised through local Hispanic radio stations and booth participants. 

Participating agencies included: WorkSourceOpportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of WashingtonWashington State Labor and IndustriesRoach and Bishop law firm; Atkinson Staffing; Inspire Development Centers to name a few. All provide services or employment opportunities to farm workers. Roach and Bishop law firm were there to answer immigration questions and to separate fact from fiction with the recent administration's stepped up enforcement actions. 

WorkSource Migrant Seasonal Farm Worker (MSFW) staff for these areas indicated each year they are seeing less farm workers coming into their offices seeking farm work. This is due to the high demand and abundant help wanted signs posted at orchards throughout Eastern Washington.

The bottom line to all this is that the existing pool of available farm worker labor force is severely lacking to fill the positions seasonal employers need. We will continue to hold these job fairs each spring in hopes of seeking qualified domestic workers.


Spotlight - Seasonal Worker Employee Handbook Product

If you haven't heard, wafla has a slick compact bilingual  employee handbook designed for seasonal workers and it has just gone through its annual review and update. We have templates for WA, OR and ID and a newly designed dairy template we are putting the finishing touches on. We are ready to get one started for you. The process is easy! Take your HR practices to a new level in four easy steps: Request, review, consult, print.

Let your employee's know RULES APPLY!

The Employee Handbook
Lays out the Rules
  • English & Spanish
  • Compact
  • Easy to Understand
The best part, when you request a reprint, we will always incorporate your original edits to our latest template. Do yourself and employees a favor and communicate their rights and your rules. It is a win-win for everyone! Learn more and get your handbook started today. Click on button or here to learn more.


Did you Know? Straight from the Government


For Small Business Week, IRS Highlights Products for Established and Emerging Businesses
IRS Newsroom

Glaser Organic Farms Settles EEOC Suit for National Origin and Color Harassment and Retaliation
U.S. EEOC Press Releases

United States Dept. of Labor News Releases and Briefs

USCIS Will Issue Redesigned Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents
USCIS News Releases

Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of H-2A and H-2B Foreign Workers in the United States: 2017 Allowable Charges for Agricultural Workers' Meals and for Travel Subsistence Reimbursement, Including Lodging
Federal Register

USCIS Reminds Employers to Address Form I-9 Glitch
I-9 Central What's New



Pollution closes shellfish harvest in six areas; other areas threatened
Department of Health Newsroom

Unemployment rate dropped to near-record low in March
Employment Security Department


Just the Facts

Source Office of Foreign Labor Certification, U.S. Department of LaborAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the number of H-2A workers jumped from 77,246 to 165,741 between 2011 and 2016. Since 2001, there’s been a 106 percent increase in H-2A certifications. Certifications in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, California, Arizona and Washington have doubled since 2011, according to DOL.

In Washington state, H-2A labor certifications topped 15,000 last year, compared to just over 12,000 in 2015 . . . Read more here.


wafla in the News

H-2A struggles to keep up with grower demand
Fruit Grower News

The H-2A farm guestworker program is expanding rapidly
California Political Review

El Salvadoran, Guatemalan H-2A workers hired
Capital Press

H-2A; Braceros
Rural Migration News


Learn and GROW

2017 Webinar Season
Upcoming Webinars

Buses, Vans, Shuttles: Ag Transportation Rules & Reg's - Get on Board
Thursday, May 11 (11A - Noon)
Learn more here

Lawsuit - Now What?
Tuesday, May 16 (11A - Noon)
Learn more here

Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) - Who, What, When, Where?
Thursday, May 25 (11A - Noon)
Learn more here

Purchase a Season Pass
Not too late!
Learn more here now!

We will send you the recordings and handouts to the first three webinars that have occurred. 

Please forward this newsletter to colleagues and encourage them to join our email list so they can also be in the know.

Stay informed on breaking wafla happenings!

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