Nov. 6, 2014
US Labor Department renews workplace rights agreements
with several Latin American countries
US Labor Secretary joined by ambassadors of Mexico, the Dominican Republic,
El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica for signing ceremony
WASHINGTON – During a ceremony today at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez renewed partnership agreements with ambassadors representing the countries of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Under these renewed agreements, the department's enforcement agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division will continue to collaborate with embassies and consulates to provide information about U.S. labor laws governing safety, health, wages and working hours to workers from these countries, including those under H-2A and H-2B visas working in the United States.
"All workers have a right to a safe workplace and fair payment of wages," said Secretary Perez. "Today's ceremony reaffirms our shared commitment to making sure that workers from these nations are able to exercise their rights."
Partnerships like these help the department enforce U.S. labor laws more effectively, especially in high-risk and low-wage industries where violations are more likely to occur. They also help the department's enforcement agencies identify problems workers face to improve their information outreach efforts.
"The renewal of the Letters of Arrangement with the Wage and Hour Division and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reaffirms Mexico's strategic partnership with the Department of Labor for the promotion of a better understanding of labor laws and the wellbeing of Mexican workers in this country," said Ambassador of Mexico to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora.
"The Department of Labor has shown a very credible concern for the underprivileged foreign workers," said Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the United States Aníbal de Castro. "For the Dominican Republic, this agreement is a step in the right direction to reduce our workers' vulnerability and preserve their rights. We proudly celebrate this signing."
Ambassador of El Salvador to the United States Francisco Altschul said, "One of the priorities of the Government of El Salvador is the protection of the rights of Salvadoran living abroad, and in particular labor rights of Salvadoran migrants living in the United States. That is why we are very pleased to renew today these local agreements with the U.S. Department of Labor."
"Nicaragua assigns great importance to this joint endeavor undertaken with the Labor Department," said Ambassador of Nicaragua to the United States Francisco Campbell. "We are satisfied with the results obtained over the last three years and are grateful for the opportunity to continue this close cooperation on an issue of mutual interest."
Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States Román Macaya Hayes said, "With the globalization of the world economy, our country seeks to protect the rights of our workers wherever they employ their skills. Therefore, we are very pleased to renew this important agreement that protects these rights for Costa Rican citizens working in the United States."
More information about the agreements and Labor Department programs that protect migrant workers is available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/cpp/.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/.
The Wage and Hour Division enforces national minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and other federal labor laws. More information is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
U.S. Labor Department representatives join ambassadors from several Latin American countries to renew workplace rights agreement. From left to right: Ambassador of Mexico Eduardo Medina Mora, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic Aníbal de Castro, Wage and Hour Division Deputy Administrator Laura Fortman, Ambassador of Nicaragua Francisco Campbell, Ambassador of El Salvador Francisco Altschul, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, Ambassador of Costa Rica Román Macaya Hayes, Deputy Undersecretary of Labor for International Affairs Carol Pier, and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
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Release Number: 14-2063-NAT
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