Jun 12, 2024
Ag employers group weighs in on DOL H-2A lawsuit

An ag employers group is coming out in support of a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor’s new H-2A regulations.

The Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) announced its representation of a coalition of agricultural employers and states in their fight against the DOL’s proposed rules that will force agricultural employers to allow potentially malign actors access to their business, according to a news release.

NCAE calls the rules “disturbing” and applauds “this critical step necessary to protect the rights of America’s farmers and ranchers.”

Mike Marsh
Mike Marsh

“This offensive regulation,” Michael Marsh, NCAE president and CEO, said in the release. “It was developed in utter bad faith and in conflict with Congress and the Constitution of the United States. This regulation never should have been allowed to see the light of day, let alone be published as a Rule. NCAE commends the SLF’s efforts to stop this regulation from inflicting lasting and devastating harm on America’s farmers and ranchers.”

Other groups are also supporting the lawsuit.

During the New Deal, Congress gave some employees the right to form labor unions through the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA explicitly excluded farm workers from the right to form unions and has continued to do so for nearly 90 years, according to the release.

“This has prevented extortive labor strikes that would cripple farms and ranches and jeopardize national security,” according to the release. “Further, Congress instructed the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to use the expansive definition of ‘agriculture’ provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in determining whether workers fall under the category of agricultural laborers, according to the release.

Now, in direct conflict with Congress’ exclusion, the Department has taken it upon itself to create that right, according to the release.

National Council of Agricultural Employers NCAE


“Rather than abiding by the laws passed by Congress or petitioning Congress to legislate the changes only it can make, the Department decided to flout the Separation of Powers inherent to our American way of governance. The Department should know this is something they cannot do,” Marsh said in the release.

“As a result of the Department’s overreach, agricultural employers are suffocating under a 3,000-page mountain of regulatory text that the Department and other regulatory agencies involved in agricultural labor have piled on America’s farmers and ranchers in the last few months.”

“This troubling trend of regulatory overreach must reverse if the American public wishes to enjoy food produced by American farmers and ranchers on American soil. We are hopeful SLF’s efforts will be a strong step towards turning that tide so America’s farmers and ranchers can get back to doing what they do best: feeding America and the world.”

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint

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