Florida and 16 states sue Biden Administration over rule allowing H-2A visa workers to unionize

by | Jun 13, 2024

Florida has joined 16 other states in suing the Biden administration over a rule allowing H-2A visa farm workers to unionize, arguing it unlawfully extends rights to foreign workers not granted to Americans and imposes burdens on state resources.

Florida joined a consortium of 17 state attorneys general this week to file a lawsuit against the Biden administration over a rule permitting temporary farm workers on H-2A visas to unionize.

The plaintiffs argue within the lawsuit that the rule is unlawful and attempts to extend rights to temporary foreign workers that are not available to American workers, thereby altering the established balance of labor laws without Congressional approval.

They further contend that the rule is inconsistent with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the U.S. Department of Labor failed to provide a rational explanation for the rule

The plaintiffs further assert that the rule disadvantages American workers by providing H-2A workers with protections that are not available to U.S. citizens, potentially leading to increased labor costs for Florida’s agricultural employers and creating an imbalance in the labor market.

They additionally claim the rule will impose administrative burdens on the Florida Department of Commerce, which will incur increased costs and need to modify procedures to comply with the rule.

“Once again, Joe Biden is putting America last,” Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, leader of the lawsuit, said. “He’s giving political benefits to foreign workers while American workers struggle in Biden’s horrible economy. I stand with American workers.”

The rule, approved on April 26, grants collective bargaining rights to H-2A visa workers. The Biden administration argues that it’s enforcement empowers workers to advocate for themselves and their coworkers, while also keeping employers accountable for workers’ work conditions and treatment on an H-2A visa.

“Agricultural guest workers are some of the most vulnerable workers in America, but this rule will empower H-2A workers to stand up to some of the biggest challenges they face,” the Congressional Labor Caucus states.

Other states in the lawsuit include Kansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.


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