Rep. Louise Slaughter of Fairport on Monday welcomed U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Seth Harris to Rochester where they joined local growers and farm organizations to discuss improvements to a federal program pivotal to a productive harvest season.
Harris’ visit is the latest step in Slaughter’s decade-long efforts to give upstate growers direct input into improvements to the H-2A program made by the Department of Labor. Slaughter, as a long-time advocate for farmers, stepped in to work with the DOL in streamlining their administration of the H-2A program, saying the program suffers from delays, paperwork burdens and confusion for growers and program administrators.
At risk are upstate New York’s seasonal fruit and vegetable crops that create thousands of jobs in upstate New York and contribute millions of dollars to the regional economy. Growers from across upstate and across the country have long said that the H-2A guestworker program needs improvements to help ensure access to the labor necessary to keep America’s farms running.