June 17, 2011

U.S. Seeks to Empower Migrant Workers from Guatemala and Nicaragua

newsOften, the way people learn about their rights is through word of mouth.  One tenant will tell another that they have the right to stay in their apartment.  Or one coworker will help another stand up against sexual harassment.  While this type of grassroots advocacy is a long-standing tradition which isn’t going anywhere, there is certainly room for more clarity and visibility about the rights of workers.

Currently, there is a new plan to educate migrant workers from Guatemala and Nicaragua about their rights while they work in the United States.  Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, Guatemalan Ambassador Francisco Villagrán De Léon and Nicaraguan Ambassador Francisco Campbell have signed declarations that will make it easier to protect the rights of Guatemalan and Nicaraguan citizens who work in the United States.

“Individuals from Guatemala and Nicaragua make important contributions to the U.S. economy, and their workplace rights should be protected,” said Secretary Solis. “I am pleased that the U.S., Guatemalan and Nicaraguan governments are working together to help make that happen.”

One of the primary aims is education.  They plan on distributing information to migrant workers about U.S. health, safety and wage laws.  Naturally, the workers are not the only ones who need to know their rights.  Employers will also be targeted to learn about what they must guarantee 100% of their workers, regardless of their citizenship.

The organizations will especially reach out to low-wage industries such as hospitality and agriculture. OSHA will continue efforts to improve workplace safety and health conditions while simultaneously providing outreach and assistance to Spanish-speaking workers and employers.

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Marie is a writer for Recruiter.com covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.