Tag Archives: H-2B program

Some Alaska fisheries had a record-setting year for wild salmon. But no one wanted to gut all those fish

At the outset of the salmon season, fisherman Everett Thompson was looking forward to a banner year. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game had estimated that 41 million wild sockeye salmon would come to Bristol Bay, an eastern nook of the Bering Sea formed by the Alaskan Peninsula. Ultimately, 59 million salmon returned—the most since 1980—leading to record hauls in parts of the region, which contributes 40 percent of the world’s annual sockeye harvest.  For a state that prides itself on sustainable salmon and ranks its seafood industry just below oil and gas, this should have been good news. As the annual migration reached its peak around July 4, Thompson and his deckhands were netting 15,000 pounds of salmon in six hours. Then he got an unexpected call from the plant manager. The message: Stop fishing. click here to read the story 09:28

Alaska Seafood processors relying more heavily on U.S. workers this year

Seafood employers need to fill many seasonal jobs every salmon season. In general, that process remains the same year to year. Nelson San Juan is the seafood employment coordinator for the Alaska Department of Labor. He says employers are leaning on state labor resources more than usual this year. “A lot of them are depending highly with the seafood unit because of, well they used to use these H-2B visa, and some of them decided not to use it or for some reason they were not able to use that program this year.” The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to hire temporary workers from overseas. San Juan says employers who did decide to use the program ran into a problem. Audio click here to read the story 18:50

H-2B guest-worker program under fire over salary discrepancies

With crawfish season just around the corner, Congress’ decision to quadruple the size of a guest-worker program might be described as a gift to Louisiana’s seafood processing industry, which struggles to fill the seasonal jobs each year. But a recent report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute says the H-2B program amounts to little more than exploitation. Although employers and their lobbyists claim there is a shortage of these skilled and semi-skilled workers, wages for the Top 15 guest-worker occupations have remained flat or fallen over the past decade, said Daniel Costa, the institute’s director of immigration and policy research and author of the report. High unemployment rates persist in the top occupations, which suggests at the national level there are no labor shortages in those fields. Read the rest here 15:53