Landscapers’ labor woes net news coverage

August 16, 2017 -  By

Two companies on the LM150 list of the largest landscape companies are in the news this month, getting coverage from their local media outlets about their labor challenges.

Lee Edwards

The Greenery was featured in a story on WSAV about its struggle to hire in the resort town of Hilton Head Island, S.C. Limited affordable housing in this area has prompted the company to pay workers here up to $2 more per hour than it pays workers in other areas. The company also has purchased vans to transport crews to the island.

“A lot of times these vans are coming from a long way out,” said Lee Edwards, CEO of The Greenery, which ranks No. 24 on the LM150 list with more than $60 million in 2016 revenue. The company spent $1 million in fuel costs alone last year. Travel vans and trucks for supervisors account for several hundred thousand of that, according to the report.

Bob Grover

Bob Grover, president of Pacific Landscape Management based in Hillsboro, Ore., was interviewed by Oregon Business about his experiences using the H-2B visa guest worker program over the last decade and his take on the U.S. immigration system. The company ranks No. 112 on the LM150 list with more than $16 million in 2016 revenue.

He called the Trump administration’s move in July to permit an additional 15,000 H-2B visas “bittersweet” because it was ill-timed for a typical landscape company, which would not have received workers until August, when the busy season winds down.

“We need a system that allows immigrants to come here and work and go home,” Grover said. “That’s what most want to do. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s like getting manufacturing done overseas.”

 

 

Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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