Filling America’s Job Vacancies

Grind for September 1st, 2018
Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people’s bad manners.

– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Safety First

The Headline

New York City to resume speed camera program

The Grind

The New York City Council brokered a deal this week with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to utilize speed cameras in school zones before kids return to classes on September 5th.

The program, which involves speed cameras in 140 school zones throughout the city, had expired in mid-July. The city continued to record data on speeding drivers but was unable to issue tickets.

Last week, de Blasio promised the Council he would expedite the passage of a bill that will reactive the ability to issue speeding tickets based on camera recordings.

The bill is a rare example of teamwork between the governor and mayor, who are known for fighting on issues big and small throughout the city.

The Details

“The minute the program expired the Council looked at the issue to see if there’s something we can do to bring the cameras back,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“Children’s lives are at stake. We wanted Albany to act, and they didn’t,” said Johnson, referring to the state Senate’s failure to extend the speed camera program last month.

“Speed cameras save kids’ lives,” added mayoral spokesman Seth Stein. “We can’t risk 1.1 million students returning to school unprotected.”

The City Council plans to discuss the bill Tuesday and hold a vote on Wednesday.

Side Effects

The Headline

Strong economic growth causes problems for landscaping companies

The Grind

Low levels of unemployment combined with a high demand for immigrant visas means there are fewer people available to do landscaping work this summer.

Brian Friend, who owns a landscaping company in Pittsburgh, says he has lost $500,000 in revenue this year because his H-2B visa applications for immigrant employees weren’t approved.

Higher wages and added benefits weren’t enough to attract workers, and Friend says he had to cancel $80,000 in contracts simply because he didn’t have the manpower to complete the work.

The Details

The $82 billion-a-year landscaping industry is responsible for 50% of the visas issued within the program that allows employers to bring workers from other countries for temporary positions.

Congress this year declined to permit an exemption for returning workers that would have doubled the number of H-2B visas issued. And while the Department of Homeland Security approved the addition of 69,000 visas this year, it has released only 15,000.

The effects of the labor shortage have been most severe on small companies – some of which have been driven out of business.

Richard Cafaro, who owns a family-run lawn service near Pittsburgh, decided to shut down his 48-year-old business after he failed to find workers.

“I just had no path forward,” said Cafaro. “It’s so frustrating.”

Other industries affected by the visa shortage and tight labor market include food service, crab-picking (Maryland), accommodation, and laundry services.

Did you know… Scientists concluded that the chicken came first, not the egg, because the protein which makes the egg shells is only produced by hens.