Mississippi Forestry Company Hires More Than 1,000 Foreign Workers, Without Seriously Looking for American Workers



A forestry company in Northeast Mississippi hired more than 1,000 foreign workers through the H-2B program in 2017. More than 700 of them landed at the company’s headquarters in Corinth, near the Tennessee border.

The H-2B program allows nonagricultural employers to hire foreign labor if enough workers can’t be found locally. Faith Forestry Services has several sites located in at least seven states and hires H-2B workers for many of them. However, sending the largest bulk of foreign workers to the Magnolia State appears to be an odd choice.

Mississippi suffers from a U-6 unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, which is higher than the national average. The U-6 unemployment rate includes those who are only employed part time because of economic factors, as well as those who have given up pursuing employment because they believe there are no opportunities for them. Mississippi’s unemployment rate has been increasing so far in 2018. According to a job posting from one of the company’s Alabama locations, there is no educational requirement for its nursery jobs. It’s hard to believe that Faith Forestry Services is struggling to find local employees with so many looking for work, yet the company has remained one of the top employers of H-2B workers in the United States since at least 2014.

It also appears as if Faith Forestry Services desired to pay its H-2B workers less than what was already agreed upon last year. Employers who use the H-2B program must pay its employees at least the prevailing wage rate given by the Department of Labor (DOL). The company applied for H-2B visas in April 2017, but the workers would not arrive until October. For some Alabama-specific sites, the prevailing wage rates ranged from $19.71 to $26.08 per hour. The DOL updates its wage data on July 1 every year, and it lowered the wage rate for these locations to $15 per hour on July 1, 2017. However, because the company applied in April, it had to pay the higher original wages.

Faith Forestry Services decided to take the DOL to court on the issue claiming that it should only have to pay $15 per hour since its employees would not be coming until October. A district judge from Mississippi dismissed the case due to the company’s lack of standing. The DOL has full authority to set the rules regarding the pay of guest workers in the United States.

In addition to the company’s bizarre actions in Mississippi and Alabama, Faith Forestry Services has almost no online presence, other than a few scattered job postings. It has an unofficial Facebook page, and that’s it. The company doesn’t even have a public website for potential employees to visit. All evidence indicated that it is putting very little effort into finding American labor.

In an area where unemployment is above the national average, Faith Forestry Services should not have so much trouble finding employees that it resorts to foreign labor. And if the company is having trouble, it could be due to its desire to pay lower wages, as well as its nonexistent online presence.

About Author

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Casey joined FAIR in 2018. He assists the research team with projects and writes for FAIR’S website. He previously spent a year working in journalism in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Journalism in 2017.

11 Comments

  1. avatar

    More than likely tree planters. You have to be in great shape and be willing to work really hard. Most unemployed Americans wouldn’t last a day doing this work.

    • avatar

      I agree.

      Forest company? Do they own the land or do we the American people? Cheap labor and huge profits for the few…with our land and forests? Many tree planters are prisoners (private prisons) in the forests. Our tax dollars.

  2. avatar

    Apparently started in 2010 and they have 99 employees…? according to internet. Apparently Principal owner is Anthony Bull…

  3. avatar

    This is just another example of our congress willing to screw over our own people in order to please large businesses that help them increase their political power and money. I absolutely do not believe any of these businesses cannot find Americans to fill their jobs. They just don’t want to bother. They care nothing for their fellow citizens, just like our politicians don’t care.

  4. avatar

    So maybe the DOL needs to require companies without a website to post jobs to the DOL website when requesting H2B workers before granting the visas. Then qualified American workers can apply for the jobs.
    I know of no law that requires all commercial enterprises to have a internet website. And just how is Faith Forrestries letting H2B applicants know about the jobs??

    • avatar

      Those job openings should b listed with a WIN Job Center before filling them with H-2B applicants. With the unemployment rate higher than the national average and he wage very good, especially with no requirements, they should be able to find applicants. Someone with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security Should check into this. They should follow up, contact the employer, list the job openings and refer applicants.

  5. avatar

    someone needs to get on this immediately….that is not fair for our American workers…freaking greedy companies

  6. avatar

    These companies do everything they can to avoid advertising for these jobs. A few years ago there was a company that put an ad in the paper in another state and the time to come in for an interview was two hours on Christmas eve. Actually even the pay of fifteen dollars an hour is not bad considering it’s Mississippi.. Supposedly it’s a “poverty stricken” state but when you can pay a quarter of what you would pay for a house in California, and other costs are considerably lower, you can get by on much less. In fact, the “real” poverty rate, when cost of living is taken into account with wages, shows California has the biggest percentage of citizens below poverty level compared to every other state.

    Kavanaugh’s accuser is just a little too clever. She doesn’t want a lawyer to interview her, presumably because they would catch her in contradictions, and wants him to testify before her. That’s not the way it’s done because it allows her to shape her story to his. The media claims “no one believes a woman” but it was that same media that helped tar the reputations of totally innocent men by unquestioningly promoting the Rolling Stone University of Virginia rape story and the Duke lacrosse case, both of which relied solely on the word of a single woman who turned out to be provably wrong.

  7. avatar

    News Flash to Faith Forestry Services BoD and executives: this isn’t 1988 or even 1998; it’s the Current Year and if you don’t have a fully-functional web site, you’re nobody! Clearly these Cheap Labor exploiters prefer to operate Under the Radar.

    • avatar

      Apparently started in 2010 and they have 99 employees…? according to internet. Apparently Principal owner is Anthony Bull…

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