Someone with knowledge of the negotiations said Saturday that the top business and labor groups in the country have come to an agreement on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants.
This agreement helps set the stage for Congress to address the issue when they get back. On Friday night, the agreement was reached when Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) made a conference call with the President of the U.S. Chamber of Congress as well as the President of the A.F.L.-C.I.
The parties had largely agreed on a guest worker program for low-skilled year-round temporary workers. The one point that had been holding them back was disagreement over pay for these immigrant workers. The source reported that the other senators who were part of the negotiations still needed to sign off on this agreement.
Now that this agreement has been reached between the labor and business groups, it is almost positive that the bill from the bipartisan group of senators is going to be introduced soon. This legislation is a way to provide citizenship for the 11 million immigrants in the country as well as take measures to secure the nation’s borders.
Labor groups wanted to make sure that these immigrants would not be paid less than the median wage in these respective industries. The compromise between the two was that the workers would be paid either the actual employer wage or the prevailing industry wage as determined by the Labor Department, whichever was higher.
The parties also resolved the issue of the type of jobs that would be allowed in the program. It was decided that low-skilled construction workers would be allowed in the program, but not skilled ones, such as crane operators. The number of visas were start at 20,000 visas and increase from there. If this legislation goes through, it would have a huge impact on not only immigration, but also labor in the economy.