TO: H-2B Visa Stakeholders and Others: June 27, 2019
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 our 8-10-month season. Many of these seasonal guest workers return each season, year after year, giving you a well-trained staff that we have become reliant upon. Maintaining the supply of these workers has met many challenges along the way, as we know all too well.
Ensuring the flow of the H-2B guest workers, 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. This season, only an additional 30,000 H-2B visa employees will be allowed. That is double what we got in 2017 or 2018 and nearly 50% to the current cap of 66k. We believe that our chances are the greatest they have ever been to get a permanent fix during the 116th Congress. We are currently engaged with the Judiciary committees in both the House and Senate to develop and pass a permanent fix, a place we have never been to before.
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 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.
You may go to our website, www.oaba.org , login and click on Advocacy Tab, and 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!