To celebrate Labor Rights Week, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently signed joint declarations and letters of arrangement with Ambassador Aníbal de Castro of the Dominican Republic, Ambassador Muni Figueres Boggs of Costa Rica and Ambassador Francisco Altschul of El Salvador – agreeing to protect the respective labor rights of their migrant workers here in the United States. Ambassadors from Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala also participated in the ceremony.
While the United States already protects the rights of all workers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 – spreading awareness amongst migrant workers remains a pressing issue in our nation today, and the driving factor behind the recent ceremony.
“Our goal is to help workers and employers understand that labor laws are enforced and enforceable, giving everyone the opportunity to comply with the U.S. laws that cover all workers,” said Secretary Solis. “Most employers take seriously their obligation to abide by the basic labor laws of this country. Today’s signing ceremony will ensure that important information on wages, health and safety rights are available to more workers, enabling them to be more knowledgeable and ultimately more productive, with a vested interest in the success of their employers.”
Under the most recent arrangements, the embassies and consulates of the undersigned parties will partner with the regional enforcement offices of the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its Wage and Hour Division to spread awareness and distribute information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws.
Additionally, OSHA and the Wage and Hour Division have agreed to re-enforce their efforts to protect the rights of migrant workers in low-wage industries and provide outreach and assistance to all Spanish speaking workers.