ERIC TRUMP WINERY IN VIRGINIA SEEKS H-2A WORKERS
As President Donald Trump touts job creation for Americans as a top priority, his son’s Virginia winery is seeking permission to hire foreign workers to cultivate grapes.
Trump Vineyard Estates asked to bring in 29 workers this season through the federal H-2A visa program, The Daily Progress reported. The program enables agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring foreign workers to the United States to do agricultural jobs or perform other seasonal services.
Trump Vineyard Estates — owned by Eric Trump — initially applied for six foreign workers in December. Two months later, the company applied for 23 more. Both job orders say the primary tasks include planting and cultivating vines, adding grow tubes and pruning grape vines.
H-2A workers and U.S. workers in corresponding employment must be paid a certain rate — $10.72 an hour for vineyard farm workers in Virginia this year.
“It’s difficult to find people,” said Libby Whitley, an attorney who has worked with employers, including Trump Winery, on labor issues.
But news reports that followed the winery’s December requests for the visas prompted criticism over the request.
Whitley said she assumed her company would be flooded with people applying for the jobs because of the media coverage.
“Guess how many applicants we had? … 13,” she said. “And they were all from places like the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria. We did not have one American worker apply.”