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IFPA prioritizes labor reform for Washington Conference hill visits

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May 23, 2024 Washington D.C. – International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) BB #:378962 will launch a labor activation at this year’s Washington Conference, building on the success of the WIC Basket activation which contributed to a fully funded WIC fruit and vegetable benefit this spring.

Industry members will be invited to take part when visiting the Hill, as one of the most direct ways to join IFPA in their advocacy efforts on labor policy reform which has been in high gear all year.

“The urgency around labor reform is a matter of national security,” said IFPA Director of Labor and Workforce, John Hollay. “Out of control labor costs are threatening to upend our entire domestic food supply chain. While we know our system needs major reform, there are immediate steps Congress can take now to provide relief. We continue to share those priorities in all forums that are addressing labor, and we need industry to lend their voices and turn the volume up on our demands.”

Attendees of the Washington Conference who will visit the Hill during the Fly In in June will be briefed on the activation which they will bring to House and Senate offices.

This will illustrate what’s at stake without relief and reform of the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) and blocking of the Department of Labor (DOL) rule that exposes employers to liability for issues outside of their control.

IFPA has been advocating for the industry in multiple capacities over the past several months which include:
• Meeting with DOL Acting Sec. Su and USDA Sec. Vilsack: IFPA was one of a handful of organizations invited to a meeting with the two Secretaries as a result of continued efforts to raise concerns about the Administration’s rulemaking directly impacting our growers and food production. IFPA has been asked to provide recommendations for administrative actions that both agencies might take to ease regulatory burdens.
• Congressional Review Act Resolutions: IFPA is working closely with House members on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution to block the recent DOL rule on workforce protection. While initially these were two separate CRA efforts, House Republicans supporting repeal of the regulation are now united in their legislative efforts.
• AEWR Relief: IFPA worked closely with Rep. Bill Huizenga in garnering the support of 120 bipartisan House members for maintaining the H-2A program’s adverse wage effect rate at the current year’s rate through 2025.
• Wilson Center Taskforce on Labor in North America: John Hollay has been serving on a bilateral broad stakeholder Taskforce identifying actionable steps that can be taken in both Mexico and the U.S. to better secure our labor and food supply chains.

“There is no shortcut to make changes to major laws,” said Vice President of U.S. Government Relations, Rebeckah Adcock. “It requires constant, consistent effort. IFPA members and allies must keep showing up to share their stories and knowledge about the labor crisis and how it uniquely impacts specialty crops. We are proud to represent the industry in these many forums, but, as we saw with our WIC success, fresh can prevail when our industry stands up for our livelihoods and prosperity to ensure policy makers understand agriculture’s critical need for a reliable workforce. We look forward to hearing those industry voices in the halls of Congress to ensure our message is heard in Washington.”

The Washington Conference will be held from June 10-12 in the nation’s capital. Registration is open now, and no previous advocacy experience is needed. A section of the program will walk all those interested in attending Hill visits through a bootcamp of Industry Issues and strategies for speaking on the Hill.

About the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)
The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)?is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. We exist to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all. We grow our member’s prosperity by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to?take action?with purpose and confidence.?

Contact: Ashley Sempowski, +1 (302) 781-5855