Labor and Immigration

Comprehensive immigration reform includes four pillars of reform: legalization; employment verification systems; temporary worker programs; and border security. GCSAA does not engage in the debate over legalization or border security. Due to the difficulty many golf facilities have in finding permanent and seasonal U.S. workers, GCSAA supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes guest worker provisions. Reform measures should safeguard seasonal worker programs and not place undue economic burdens on employers. Reform should create an immigration system and guest worker program that functions efficiently for employers, workers and government agencies. Reform should create a program that ensures U.S. workers are not displaced by foreign workers and ensures that all workers enjoy the same labor law protections. Reform should strengthen national security by providing for the screening of foreign workers and creating a disincentive for illegal immigration. Enforcement of immigration laws is critical for the economic vitality of the country, national security and for successful comprehensive immigration reform. GCSAA supports reform that creates a fair employment eligibility verification system for new hires that functions efficiently, effectively, and inexpensively for employers, workers and government agencies.

An available, legal and trained workforce is vital to the economic success of golf facilities and a top priority for the golf industry. Bureau of Labor Statistics data demonstrates the demographic reality that the U.S. population is aging, growth in the young workforce is declining, young workers are increasingly educated and disinterested in unskilled labor jobs, and major worker shortages are forecasted especially for seasonal and less-skilled positions. Significant labor shortages will make it difficult for many golf facilities to fill both their permanent and temporary/seasonal labor needs. Additionally, 95% of golf facilities either fall at or under the threshold for small business, as determined by the Small Business Administration ($15 million in revenue annually). These facilities often face slim profit margins and rely on access to a safe, legal and affordable workforce to operate. Further, many depend on foreign, seasonal labor due to the difficulty in finding U.S. workers willing to take seasonal, unskilled jobs. Proper documentation of workers presents its own set of unique challenges. The U.S. labor shortage, comprehensive immigration reform and mandatory use of E-Verify are issues Congress continues to debate as they try to address the need for a stable, legal workforce to ensure the nation’s economic security. Specific labor and immigration issues include:

  • H-2B Visa Program
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
  • Overtime Pay

GCSAA has been pushing for passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation since 2006.

In 2011, GCSAA worked with the H-2B Workforce Coalition to successfully lobby Congress to include an amendment in the Fiscal Year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which stopped any federal funding of the DOL’s wage rule until October 1, 2013. Congress extended the wage rule prohibition until March 27, 2013 with the signing of the 6 month FY2013 Continuing Resolution.

In 2011, GCSAA supported litigation filed in the U.S. District Court in Florida that challenged the propriety of the wage rule concerning the computation and implementation of the prevailing wages for H-2B visa holders.

In 2012, GCSAA supported additional litigation filed in the U.S. District Court of Florida that challenged the DOL’s proposed H-2B visa program overhaul rule.

In 2013, GCSAA continued to support ongoing litigation challenging the DOL’s wage and program overhaul rules. GCSAA also actively supported passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation in Congress as well as legislation that blocked implementation of the new 2013 DOL emergency wage rule.

In June 2013, GCSAA submitted comments to DOL in opposition to their H-2B emergency wage rule that increased wages by 30% in the middle of the golfing season.

In 2014, GCSAA supported the bipartisan STARS Act of 2014, which bill would simplify seasonal employer compliance with the PPACA.

At the 2014 Golf Industry Show, GCSAA presented "Healthcare Reform: What You Need to Know Now". This presentation gave superintendents an early working knowledge of the PPACA and the potential treatment of seasonal workers under the PPACA.

In 2014, GCSAA supported the bipartisan STARS Act of 2014, which bill would simplify seasonal employer compliance with the PPACA.

In 2014, GCSAA supported H.R. 4238, a comprehensive bill to preserve and protect the H-2B visa program. The bill would clarify the "prevailing wage" methodology that should be used for setting H-2B wages and reinstate the H-2B returning worker exemption.

In 2015, GCSAA submitted comment as part of the H-2B Workforce Coalition expressing that the U.S. Secretary of Labor doesn’t have the power to issue a declaratory order confirming his ability to set H-2B labor certification program policy.

GCSAA members participated in the H-2B Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill on April 15, 2015.

In 2105, GCSAA pushed for passage of positive H-2B provisions included in the House and Senate Departments of Homeland Security and Labor appropriations bills into the final FY2015 omnibus spending bill.

In 2015, GCSAA partnered with the PGA of America, CMAA, NGCOA and the NCA to jointly develop public comments regarding the U.S. Department’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding overtime pay regulations.

In 2016, GCSAA partnered with the PGA of America, CMAA, NGCOA and the NCA to jointly develop a letter in support of H.R. 5813, the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act.

GCSAA hosted a widely attended webinar on June 29, 2016, called "Getting Ready for the New Department of Labor Overtime Rules".