California Landscape Contractors Association members and staff are a valuable resource for the media. Here is a sampling of articles:
Odd Allies Oppose No-Match Plan (Sacramento Bee)
Sacramento landscape company owner Kimberly Rhodes disagreed with a plan that would force U.S. employers to fire suspected illegal immigrants based on Social Security data discrepancies. “I’ve never been so disappointed in my government before in my life,” she stated. Read More... (PDF)
Judge Blocks Worker ID Rule (Los Angeles Times)
Larry Rohlfes, CLCA assistant executive director, said the plan to use mismatched Social Security data to root out illegal immigrants from the workforce would have been tough on employers. Employers would have faced the choice of complying or going out of business, he said. Read More...
Employers Angry as Talks Fail (Sacramento Bee)
“They can’t just build a fence. They can’t just send people back. That would devastate the U.S. economy,” said Cathy Gurney of Sierra Landscape and Maintenance, Chico, who really doesn’t know who among her employees has real or fake documents. Read More... (PDF)
Who's Gonna Do the Work? (Forbes)
Larry J. Rohlfes, a staffer at the California Landscape Contractors Association, says one of his members sadly understands what will happen after employees are fired for the no-match letter. "They're going to get a truck and start their own landscape business," the contractor told him. "They'll be poaching his clients and they're likely to become part of the underground economy." Read More...
Immigration Warnings Trouble Local Bosses (Ventura County Star)
Referring to a Department of Homeland Security regulation that required employers to terminate employees when their presented social security numbers do not match the numbers in the Social Security Administration database, CLCA Assistant Executive Director Larry Rohlfes stated that “we have a disconnect between this policy and economic reality.” Read More...
Soften the Labor Shortage (Irrigation & Green Industry)
Although many employers are silent on the issue of immigration, a sizeable group of CLCA members began urging the organization as a whole to get involved. Immigration was a key issue, and members wanted to see their association dealing with it. Read More... (PDF)
Guest Worker Bill Expected in D.C. (Landscape Contractor National)
When the California landscape contractors visit D.C. later this month, they’ll greet Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives, where opposition to guest worker legislation is stronger than in the Senate. Read More...
New Immigration Rules Will Force Illegal Workers to Be Fired (San Francisco Chronicle)
"This is going to cause a lot of pain, but that pain I hope will be an impetus for our nation to get realistic and fix our broken immigration system," said Larry Rohlfes, assistant executive director of the California Landscape Contractors Association. "In the meantime, people are going to be hurt." Rohlfes predicted that many workers would not leave the country but go underground as unlicensed contractors, where they will not pay taxes. "It's going to hurt our remaining workers because the underground economy competes with us and because they have much lower costs," Rohlfes said. Read More...
Immigration Debate: Firms Warn of Lack of Workers (Sacramento Bee)
The CLCA has been outspoken in admitting employers probably have undocumented workers on their payrolls. The same employers say they have done all that was required of them to check employee documents, copy them, and keep them on file. CLCA Assistant Executive Director Larry Rohlfes predicted that dismissed landscapers would enter the underground economy. Read More... (PDF)
Competing Voices in GOP on Immigrant Laborers (Sacramento Bee)
Lawmakers she once supported have failed to defend small businesses like hers, said Chico industrial landscaper Cathy Gurney of Sierra Landscape and Maintenance, a Republican. Read More... (PDF)
U.S. Alerts for Illegal Workers Stir Fears (Ventura County Star)
Addressing how the Department of Homeland Security will enforce its plan to require employers to terminate employees when the Social Security numbers they provide do not meet with the numbers in the Social Security Administration’s database, CLCA Assistant Executive Director Larry Rohlfes stated that employers who don’t follow the rules play a dangerous game. If immigration agents find out the company knew it had workers with bad Social Security numbers, there could be huge penalties. Read More...
US Business Gears Up for Immigration-Reform Fray (Workpermit.com)
“We’ve decided to step up to the plate and admit we need immigrant workers,” said Larry Rohlfes, CLCA assistant executive director. Read More...
Anxiety Over Worker ID Grows (Sacramento Bee)
“We need to get legislators to realize this problem of undocumented workers goes far beyond the farm sector,” said CLCA Lobbyist Parke Terry. … “Americans seem to have risen above this work,” said Cathy Gurney, owner of Chico-based Sierra Landscape and Maintenance. “The last thing they want to do is dig trenches.” … Lori Wolf, who runs Professional Landscape in Modesto, said she pays well above the minimum wage but can’t attract American workers either. Read More... (PDF)
Raid Renews Business Push for Immigrant Labor Reforms (Sacramento Bee)
“Things could get worse for our members before they get better,” stated Larry Rohlfes, CLCA assistant executive director. Read More...
Boycott Participation Mixed across Orange County (Orange County Register)
Kamran Dideban of Aaron Landscape Inc., Brea, said most of his employees asked for and got the day off without pay. Kevin Fairchild of BK Landscape, Santa Ana, said all of his employees showed up. Read More...
Stakes Are High for Business, Boycotters (Daily Breeze.Com)
“Consider the legal ramifications and the ramifications for negative publicity,” said Larry Rohlfes, CLCA assistant executive director. Read More... (PDF)
A Day of Protest (Sacramento Bee)
Dave Penry, a Sebastopol landscaper, says he runs job ads few Americans respond to, pays laborers on average double the minimum wage and the same health-care benefits he receives. Read More... (PDF)
Most Businesses Supportive of Rallies (Contra Costa Times)
“(Immigration policy) is not allowing my business to grow,” said Tom Raeth, owner of Lafayette Tree and Landscape Inc. “I think it’s important for the nation to understand that if we do not do something about this problem, not only are our costs going to continue to rise, but we still have 11 million people out there.” Read More... (PDF)
Businesses Weigh How to Handle Immigration Protest
Huppe Landscape Co. Inc. hired extra help and worked overtime and on Saturday to compensate for an anticipated shortage of workers on the Day of Protest. “We’re suggesting that companies follow established policies for sick time and vacation time,” said Larry Rohlfes, CLCA assistant executive director. Read More... (PDF)
A Job Americans Won’t Do, Even at $34 an Hour (Los Angeles Times)
Cyndi Smallwood of Diversified Landscape Management Inc., Riverside, is looking for a few strong men for her landscaping company. Guys with no fear of a hot sun, who can shovel dirt all day long. She’ll pay as much as $34 an hour. She can’t find them. … The people I grew up with 40 years ago expected to work hard physically, “ said Bob Wade of Wade Landscape in Laguna Beach. “This is a pretty pampered little town. The kids don’t expect to work hard. A lot don’t expect to work at all.” Read More...
Affected Industries Clamor for Consideration (Los Angeles Times)
Sonoma County landscaper David Penry traveled to Washington with nine other California business owners to lobby lawmakers. Their message: In the process of reigning in illegal immigration, lawmakers also risk reigning in economic growth and damaging the health of a large number of industries. Read More...
Employing Immigrants (San Diego Union-Tribune)
“Immigrant workers keep large sectors of our economy functioning. They work hard and bring a self-starting, independent and entrepreneurial spirit to U.S. commerce. Several studies have shown a net plus to the economy from immigrant labor with a small negative impact on those in the lowest paying jobs. Removing immigrant workers would mean invading workplaces across America and disrupting business on an unprecedented scale.” Harry Funk, past president of CLCA’s San Diego Chapter. Read More...
Visas Offer Businesses a Legal Labor Force (North County Times)
“The H2B is not a perfect guest worker program because it is temporary,” said John Mohns, president of Benchmark Landscape, Poway. “But it provides a practical, legal avenue and a reasonable opportunity for employers to access essential foreign workers.” Read More...
Small Business Owners Appeal for Relaxed Immigration Laws (Sacramento Bee and Contra Costa Times)
“I was most shocked at the Republican Party being against small business,” said Cynthia Smallwood, who runs Diversified Landscape Management in Mission Viejo. … Cathy Gurney, owner of Sierra Landscape and Maintenance of Chico, also complained of being snubbed by Republicans. … Peter Dufau, who runs an Oxnard landscaping business, said he believes congressional representatives in his party aren’t listening to business. Read More... (PDF)
Congress Could Double Number of H2-B Temporary Visas, Extend Time Limit (San Diego Union-Tribune)
“Everyone is hiring illegal immigrants anyway,” said John Mohns, president of Benchmark Landscape in Poway. “We want to do it illegally.” Read More...
Employers Have a Lot to Lose (Wall Street Journal)
"My partner and I own a landscaping company in California that employs 60 people, and two-thirds of them are immigrants," CLCA Member David Penry tells the camera. "They have as much pride in America as you or me. We need to fix our laws so they can work in this country legally and get the respect and dignity they've earned." Read More...
Industries Fret over Bush’s Border Plan (NY Times)
“We need a solution that will address and provide a legal work force,” said Barbara Alvarez of Alvarez Landscape and Maintenance, San Dimas. Read More...
Immigration Bill Expands (Sacramento Bee)
Larry Rohlfes, assistant executive director of the California Landscape Contractors Association, who was in Washington to lobby, said: “We think this is a big step towards our goal of good, reasonable comprehensive reform that makes sense.” Read More... (PDF)
Landscapers Lobby Senate on Immigration (Landscape Contractor National)
“We decided that Pacific Landscapes Inc. had to take a public position on the issue,” said David Penry, a Sebastopol landscape contractor. … Cyndi Smallwood of Diversified Landscape Management in Mission Viejo is another CLCA member who traveled to Washington to lobby lawmakers. Articulate and passionate, she found herself quoted in the Sacramento Bee, the Orange County Register, and other news outlets. Read More...
Immigrant Bill’s Benefits May Be Elusive (Los Angeles Times)
Like much of the business community, Barbara Alvarez, of Alvarez Landscape and Maintenance, San Dimas, was solidly behind an immigration proposal that emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Read More...
Got Illegal Workers? Fix It. (Voice of San Diego)
Poway’s Benchmark Landscape became the first company in the California Landscape Contractors Association, a non-profit trade organization of state licensed landscape and landscape-related specialty contractors, to bring in workers through the H-2B visa program. Read More...