TO: H-2B Visa Stakeholders and Others: August 27, 2020
Subject: OABA's Critical Need for Your Help, NOW PLEASE!
For over a decade, many of you have struggled to find adequate seasonal help in your mobile amusement business. Thanks to several of the mobile amusement industry's H-2B processors, some 7,000 foreign guest workers have helped provide many of us with a stable and reliable workforce, during your 8-10-month season. Many of these seasonal guest workers return each season giving you a well-trained staff year-after-year, and we have become reliant upon them. Maintaining the supply of these workers has met many challenges along the way, as we know all too well.
Today, that fight continues in an environment complicated with the trauma brought upon our industry due to COVID-19. To help ensure the flow of the H-2B guest workers in these difficult times, the OABA retains full time lobbyists and attorneys in Washington, DC. Our lobbyists have developed key allies in Congress who understand our industry's needs and challenges, and who have helped overcome the H-2B's CAP challenges, utilizing our government's funding processes via Appropriations riders.
For the last several years, these efforts have produced real results and in Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020, an additional 30,000 H-2B visa applications were authorized. That is double the number of additional visas secured in 2017 or 2018 and nearly 50% of the current cap of 66,000 visas. Nevertheless, the fight continues to secure a final and permanent change while simultaneously attempting to address the hardships endured by the industry.
We believe that our chances are the greatest they have ever been to secure a permanent fix in the First Session of the next Congress, but the important foundation for that work is being prepared today and those efforts must continue during the remaining days of the 116th Congress.
For instance, OABA is currently leading the national conversation on the following efforts:
Without our lobbyists’ efforts, and the personal advocacy of many of our Board members as well as our H-2B employee processors, we believe your businesses will be in trouble. We know of several carnivals and concessionaires who have already decided to get out of the business, primarily because they couldn't get their H-2B visa, seasonal, guest workers.
Your Board understands the importance of this program, and consequently dedicates almost a third of the OABA's total operating expenses to the H-2B visa issue. With some of the best lobbyists in DC working this issue, coupled with the best legal minds to meet DOL's legal challenges protecting and defending our members, our expenses add up quickly. Between the Lobbyists, Lawyers, and OABA PAC donations to members of Congress, the amount spent on the H-2B issue alone exceeds $500,000, annually!
The OABA cannot continually absorb these huge expenses each year as it has in the past. However, our Board understands, along with our stakeholders in this program, the critical need for this reliable, seasonal workforce. OABA's Trustee, Michael Wood, who Chairs our Government Affairs Committee, works tirelessly on this issue, and spends his own time and financial resources, along with other OABA board members to represent you in DC on the H-2B issue. Thanks to our lobbyists, Michael, and others, the OABA routinely "plays above its weight class" compared to other H-2B Coalition members.
We need everyone's participation, because we have gone as far as we can on the backs of just a few, in order to benefit the many. Our Carnival members and JKJ Workforce Agency, the largest supplier of the mobile amusement industry's seasonal guest workers, have always stepped up supporting the issue, but that is no longer enough. The OABA needs everyone's financial support, now!
Therefore, our Board is asking that each company that participates in the H-2B visa program, each season, contribute $40.00 per H-2B employee to the OABA, to help us offset these huge lobbying expenses. We need your help, as soon as possible! Others may simply make a donation.
Click on the link below to donate with a credit card, or simply send a check, to "OABA" with "H-2B Lobbying" marked in the check's memo section. We will acknowledge your contribution.
Your OABA Board is committed to helping all stakeholders on this issue with some of the best resources we have, but we need financial help and advocacy support to make us stronger and get a permanent fix, via H-2B authorizing legislation, to solve many of today's problems.
Your contribution will help us strive for a permanent solution to our industry's critical need for reliable seasonal, guest workers!
Please, don't delay, help us now ...and help protect your business...Thank You!
Chair, OABA Chair, Gov't. Relations President & CEO
OABA Trustee 2015
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