In April, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced the Willing Workers and Willing Employers Act (S. 2827) in the Senate. An innovative approach to immigration reform, the act seeks to establish a pilot program to provide temporary workers for certain segments of the U.S. economy when economic conditions warrant. NRCA believes this legislation will help roofing industry employers address their current challenging workforce needs.
NRCA has long supported immigration reform legislation. The difficulty of finding sufficient candidates for job openings in the roofing industry has been a problem for many years despite competitive wages and vigorous efforts to recruit new employees. This largely is a result of an aging workforce, the physically demanding nature of roofing work and a smaller share of eligible workers opting to pursue careers in the construction industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in roofing will grow 13 percent between 2014 and 2024, and there is broad agreement the demand cannot be met by native-born workers alone.
NRCA has been a leading advocate for immigration reform that responds to economic demands. In 1999, NRCA helped found the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition to work with Congress and other stakeholders to develop immigration legislation. The principles NRCA follows with respect to immigration reform, as directed by its Government Relations Committee, are to enhance border security; improve workplace enforcement without burdening employers; provide an avenue for workers to enter the U.S. legally in response to economic conditions; and address the problems of the existing illegal workforce in a balanced manner. These elements are critical to eliminating illegal immigration while meeting U.S. security and economic needs.