This statement attributable to: William Good, CEO of NRCA
NRCA commends Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) for introducing the “Willing Workers and Willing Employers Act” in the U.S. Senate. This legislation (S. 2827) takes an innovative approach to immigration reform that will help NRCA members address the challenging workforce development needs of the 21st century.
NRCA has long supported immigration reform that increases border security, improves enforcement without burdening employers; provides an avenue for workers to enter the U.S. legally in response to economic conditions; and addresses the problem of the existing illegal workforce in a balanced manner. The difficulty of finding sufficient numbers of candidates for job openings has been a serious problem for NRCA members for many years despite vigorous efforts to recruit employees. This is because demographic trends of an aging workforce, the physically demanding nature of roofing work, and a larger share of eligible U.S. workers opting to pursue college or advanced degrees.
NRCA supports a temporary worker program that is governed by market forces, protects U.S. workers, and enables employers to obtain the workers needed to grow their businesses. Senator Flake’s legislation would establish a flexible pilot program based on these principles. The pilot program established by S. 2827 would include the following:
- Strict requirements employers must follow in seeking available U.S. workers before using the pilot program
- A requirement that all employers participate in E-Verify as a condition of using the pilot program
- Provide employers and employees with greater portability by enabling workers to change jobs and work for any qualifying employer who has tested the labor market and proven they are unable to hire an U.S. worker for the position.
- The opportunity to participate is limited only to counties or metro areas where the unemployment rate is less than 5 percent
These and other provisions in the legislation will ensure the pilot program is responsive to the needs of workers and employers. NRCA looks forward to working with members of Congress on a bipartisan basis towards advancing and perfecting this legislation as a critical component of any efforts to achieve effective immigration reform. Our dysfunctional immigration system will not be fixed if it fails to address the roofing industry’s workforce needs.