I've recently heard of a number of large fines to people using the H2A program and failing to notify the Department of Labor when a local person leaves the job.
Here is a description of how the fine works from Dan Bremer who works with growers on labor:
There is a requirement that an H2A employer notify the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Homeland Security within 48 hours of anyone who abandons the job or is terminated. The US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, has been relentless in fining farmers who have not complied with this rule. The US Dept. of Labor claims that if this notification is not done, the farmer owes the employee who abandoned the job for 3/4 th of the hours that the farmer said the workers were going to work on the contract. In addition, the USDOL will fine the employer $800 for each such worker not reported to the US Dept. of Labor. For example, if a worker comes to work for the farmer on day one, works a couple of hours and then leaves the farm and never returns, and the farmer does not notify the US Dept. of Labor, the farmer will be liable for 30 hours per week at the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (for example in Georgia that is $9.12 per hour) for the remainder of the contract period. Let’s say the contract period if for 10 months. The worker works a couple hours on the first day of the contract period and then quits and the employer does not notify the US Dept. of Labor. Take $9.12 per hour times 30 hours per week times 43 weeks = $11,764.80. In addition, there is a fine of $800.
Anyone heard of other growers being hit by this fine?
It's been over 30 years since I've had even one US born person even ask for a job even though with piece work wages no one makes under $14 an hour. 30 years ago it was the "hippies" who did most of my harvesting and did it well.
Where have all the hippies gone?
We have had several reports of this activity here in Georgia. Check out this video commentary captured at an August town hall meeting held in Tifton by Congressmen Jack Kingston and Austin Scott. http://youtu.be/K6KO9mpqOcY