ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — Grass grows quickly in the spring, and this two-man crew in Allison Park has more work than they can manage.
“We’re just trying to keep up with things right now,” said Tim Habazin of Northern Scapes.
But down the road, LMS Greenhouse and Nursery, which has provided landscaping and lawn care for the past 47 years, is closing. Not for lack of work but for lack of workers.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “It’s very tough?”
Richard Cafaro of LMS Greenhouse and Nursery: “It’ a crusher,” he said while fighting back tears.
Every year, Richard and Anna Cafaro have come to rely on a dozen seasonal workers from Mexico. But this year, the Trump Administration capped the number of visas and those workers never came.
“I hung in there as long as I could,” Richard Cafaro said. “Grass stated growing, and we just had no path forward.”
“His is heart and soul he put into it and to have it not be able to move forward because of a government policy is heartbreaking to watch,” Anna Cafaro said.
The visa workers come only for the season — pay taxes and social security — and are required to return home. But while landscapers, resorts and construction companies rely on them, they’ve become entangled in the immigration debate.
“We tried so hard to get American workers to come and take these jobs,” Anna Cafaro said. “We had so many applications, and only one person requested an interview and he didn’t even show up. There’s just people who don’t want these jobs.”
As a result, the Cafaro’s had to let their American works go and are now having a liquidation sale on all of their plants and flowers. Their customers say it doesn’t make sense.
“I really think if our politicians (should) get together, Democrat or Republican, get together and solve these problems instead of fighting over all this other garbage,” said May Baugh of McCandless.
May and her husband Don Baugh rely on the Cafaros for their lawn care.
“I’m getting too old to do it. I’m really sorry to see it go,” said Don Baugh. “Now I gotta either do it myself or find someone else. It’s kinda sad.”
Not just landscaping, but the shortage of seasonal workers will have a ripple effect on the entire economy, severely impacting some businesses and delivering a death blow to others.