In what they call a “Reuters Exclusive” the news agency tries to undermine Donald Trump’s candidacy because Trump businesses have used H-2B Visa applications to hire workers. This is an absolute joke, we’ll explain why.
Why this is a nothingburger – Those unfamiliar with the South Florida general labor market are most likely unfamiliar with the extreme swings in “seasonal need” workers.
Does the word “Snowbird” ring a bell? Florida has a “tourist season” which runs from (generally speaking) just after Thanksgiving to Easter annually. January, February and March are the peak. The first Monday in February is the absolute peak as almost every time-share and hotel unit flips that week.
The volume of work within the service and hospitality industry doubles during the tourist season, and those businesses who hire within the general labor market struggle to increase their labor in relationship to the increase in business. In addition, local workers looking for employment are reluctant to take temporary or “seasonal” jobs, and prefer longer term -more stable- employment.
Many businesses need to double, or in some cases triple, their workforce in order to meet the business demand. [In 2014 97,300,000 tourists visited Florida].
As a consequence many companies, including Trump owned resorts, have used H-2B visa workers to fill the gap between large fluctuations in business and the needed staffing shortfalls. From my own experience, many of the workers are students from South America (Argentina, Brazil, etc) who take the seasonal jobs Nov/Dec – March/April between their college seasons – and then return home.
In addition you’ll note the dates of the Reuters data:
Trump owns companies that have sought to import at least 1,100 foreign workers on temporary visas since 2000, according to U.S. Department of Labor data reviewed by Reuters. Most of the applications were approved, the data show. (link)
“2000 through 2015” Another factor – During the timeframe of 2000 to 2007 the seasonal hiring problem was compounded by the boom in the housing market and overall thriving U.S. economy. Any generally healthy worker, who could swing a hammer, could triple their income switching to the housing or building sector.
Bartenders, waiters/waitresses, housekeepers, maintenance and general workers left the hospitality industry to make $25-$40hr in low skill construction jobs. The H-2B visa use increased at the same rate to help fill the worker void. Actually, the H-2B visa use initially started gaining wide-scale acceptance exactly for this reason. The economy was good, workers were scarce and demand for workers greater than the labor market.
[…] The Labor Department records don’t specify the nationality of the foreign workers sought by companies. But Trump could be bringing many Mexican workers into the United States.
Reuters examined records of applications for three categories of temporary work visas – the H-2A, H-2B and H-1B programs – submitted by employers to the Labor Department.
The temporary work visa program through which Trump’s companies have sought the greatest numbers of workers, H-2B, brings in mostly workers from Mexico. Mexicans made up more than 80 percent of the 104,993 admissions to the United States on H-2B visas in 2013. The Trump companies have sought at least 850 H-2B visa workers.
The H-2B program, which receives little government oversight, is used by companies in sectors ranging from hospitality to forestry to hire foreign workers for temporary jobs. Companies must prove that the jobs are seasonal – and that they tried and failed to hire Americans.
U.S. government watchdogs have criticized the H-2B and H-2A programs over the years for failing to protect foreign and American workers alike.
[…] The Mar-a-Lago, a luxury resort in Palm Beach, Florida, has sought the most foreign workers of the nine Trump businesses: 787 workers since 2006, according to the data.
This month, the resort filed paperwork seeking to bring in 70 foreign workers later this year on H-2B visas to serve as maids, cooks and wait staff, according to paperwork known as “job orders” published on the Labor Department’s web site. (read more)
The entire article is a nothingburger once you understand the issue at hand. Palm Beach, Florida tourism season doubles, and at times triples, the business not only for Donald Trump resorts, but for every business in/around the host and hospitality sector.
Palm Beach, like many South Florida areas even have celebrations when the “snowbirds”, “frog heads”, and “tourons” go home at season’s end.
Reuters is trying to make a regional common practice seem like something rather controversial. The FAIL is strong on this one.