WASHINGTON, DC— Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18) introduced legislation to claw back the Biden Department of Labor’s newly finalized H-2A unionization rule set to take effect June 28, 2024. This 600-page rule will increase costs for our nation’s agricultural producers and allow temporary agricultural employees to unionize. 

“This new DOL rule is the latest crippling regulation hoisted on Florida growers by the Biden Administration. If it is implemented, it will have disastrous effects on our ag industry,” said Rep. Franklin, member of the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. “Producers already struggle to meet their labor needs and compete with supply from Mexico, which is not subject to the same restrictions. The federal government should be engaging with industry to learn how to optimize the H-2A program to benefit both producers and farmworkers, not pursuing burdensome mandates.” 

“Our growers tell us time and time again of the long-term relationships they have with their farm employees, many of which return to work on the farm season after season. They know that caring for their workforce is simply the right thing to do. As an industry, we do not tolerate any employer who violates laws and regulations intended to protect farmworkers. Yet, in the DOL’s new H-2A program rule, a broad stroke is painted, assuming misconduct by all. This type of aggressive bureaucratic rulemaking threatens the sustainability of an industry that helps feed, clothe and fuel the nation," said Mike Joyner, President, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

"Natural disasters, greening, unfair foreign competition, and slow response time from the federal government all threaten the health of Florida's citrus industry," said Matt Joyner, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. "This antagonistic finger pointing from the Department of Labor does not promote resiliency in Florida's growers who are working hard to rebuild our state's flagship crop. I thank Rep. Franklin for his leadership on this issue.”

The DOL’s finalized “Improving Protections for Workers in Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States” rule will worsen an already complex regulatory environment and raise operating and compliance costs for our nation’s agricultural producers.

The rule also creates dangerous loopholes ripe for fraud and abuse, allowing legal and labor union activists a right to access private farm and ranches. This controversial policy was the subject of the 2021 U.S. Supreme Court case, Cedar Point, et all, v. Haddid.  By a 6-3 majority, the Court held granting access to third-party union organizers, even if only for a short time, threatens agricultural producers’ private property rights.  They argued requiring these organizations access, necessarily suggests a right to physically invade the growers’ property and thus constitutes a “physical taking.” 

Specifically, Rep. Franklin’s legislation utilizes the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the DOL’s recent policy.  A CRA resolution of disapproval is a special legislative procedure that allows Congress to overturn executive or agency action while providing clarity on the agency’s statutory authority.  When enacted, it also prohibits the agency from any similar rulemaking in the future. 

Florida employs over 51,000 temporary agricultural H-2A employees, more than any other state in the nation. California, which is the second for H-2A workers, employs just over 11,000 less than Florida.

Cosponsors include: Reps. John Moolenaar (R-MI); Carlos Gimenez (R-FL); John Rutherford (R-FL); Ben Cline (R-VA); Aaron Bean (R-FL); Neal Dunn (R-FL); Gus Bilirakis (R-FL); Dan Webster (R-FL); Jerry Carl (R-AL); Austin Scott (R-GA); Byron Donalds (R-FL); Clay Higgins (R-LA); Dan Meuser (R-PA); Greg Steube (R-FL); Andy Ogles (R-TN); Mark Amodei (R-NV); Bill Posey (R-FL) 

Endorsing Organizations: American Farm Bureau Federation; Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association; Florida Citrus Mutual; and Florida Strawberry Growers Association.