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Get Involved – Advocate for the CARE & RIDE Act Today!

It's no surprise that finding employees to set up and operate rides, serve food, and run game concessions in the amusement industry has been a struggle for the last two + decades, and following the pandemic, the labor situation has only gotten worse. More and more companies are reliant on the H-2B visa program, hiring temporary, seasonal workers from Mexico and other countries to fill positions. However, due to increasing demand from other industries who also use the popular visa program, it is no longer a reliable option for amusement operators. Imagine owning a business and each year not knowing for sure if your company will have an adequate number of workers, or any workers at all, to operate in an efficient manner. If you're associated with a fair or event, think about what your event would look like if your amusement company was only able to bring a handful of rides or no rides at all due to labor shortages. Unfortunately, the scenario is real, and for some fairs, a situation that has already been a reality.

Fortunately, there is a solution called the Carnivals Are Real Entertainment Act (CARE Act, HR 1787). The CARE Act is a bill that was introduced in the house by Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-18] that would provide the industry with employment security for years to come, including carnivals, concessionaires, and even fairs and events. A similar companion bill, the RIDE Act (S 4040) has been introduced in the senate.

The CARE ACT has bi-partisan support and would:

  • Move Carnival workers from the H-2B program to the P visa category, a visa that was created years ago for the entertainment industry but didn't specifically include carnivals.
  • Solve the industry's labor crisis, providing all carnivals and qualified operators with enough workers, without a cap.
  • Free about 10,000 H2B visas for the many other industries (fishery, landscaping, resorts) that also need reliable foreign labor.

My Experience

For the last 10 years, I've been in touch with my local congressman's office regarding H-2B related issues and developed a relationship with some of the staff in his office. They understood the issue and pledged their support for H-2B cap relief; however, the Congressman was reluctant to sign onto any bills or letters regarding H-2B. When I called about the CARE act, I took a different approach. When speaking with one of his legislative aids, I explained to her the importance that carnivals have within the local community. I explained to her how carnivals benefit non-profit organizations and often serve as their largest source of fundraising for the year. I explained the money goes directly back into the local community to support various causes, charities and programs, etc. I explained the importance the carnival has at local county and state fairs, helping put money into agricultural programs and educational programs. During the call, her reaction was much different than previous conversations I had regarding H-2B. She began to understand that this was much more than just saving a group of businesses, but helping all the local organizations who depend on fundraising efforts of the carnival. About two weeks after our discussion, the aid called and let me know that the Congressman was receptive to the CARE act and would sign onto the bill. Finally, after years of persistence, my efforts finally paid off.


The Industry Needs YOUR Help – Here's What You Can Do

Advocating for the CARE and RIDE acts is very simple. The OABA has provided a comprehensive resource guide for the CARE and RIDE acts on their web site. For specific information, please visit www.oaba.org/careact. The OABA provides a link to search for your representative's contact information and a step-by-step guide on what to say when you contact their office. Prior to reaching out, I recommend reading the Summary of HR 1787 & S4040 guides as well as the “Make One Call” informational PDF on the OABA web site.

If you are in any way affiliated with the industry, please reach out to your congressman and senators to ask for their support of the CARE ACT (HR 1787) and RIDE ACT (S. 4040). The strength and longevity of the industry depends on us.
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