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National News Release USDL: 03-306
June 10, 2003
Contact: Daniel Morales
Phone: (202) 693-4660
Consulates of Mexico, El Salvador To Help Educate Workers on Rights, Responsibilities
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Department of Labor in conjunction with the Mexican and Salvadorian Consulates in Dallas and other community, faith-based and governmental organizations today launched the Justice and Equality in the Workplace Program of Dallas. The program seeks to educate workers on their rights and responsibilities as well as provide an avenue for non-English speakers to report violations of laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Wage and Hour Division and Office of Federal Contract Compliance.
"The Administration is committed to protecting the well being of the over 14.5 million Hispanic workers in our country," U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said. "We want to help Hispanic workers realize the American dream and be an integral part of the American workforce."
The partnership seeks to educate Hispanics and recent immigrant workers on their rights and responsibilities as well as encourage them to report violations of laws enforced by the Department of Labor and other federal agencies. The partnership also formalizes a shared commitment by the Labor Department and Consulates of Mexico and El Salvador to work together through information sharing and mutual support to promote justice, safety, and equality in the workplace.
A telephone line will be dedicated to receive inquiries from the public and channel those calls to the appropriate federal or state agency. OSHA, Wage and Hour Division and OFCCP will conduct training sessions and provide assistance the Mexican Consulate in Dallas with the tools necessary to refer complaints to appropriate DOL agencies.
The Houston Justice and Equality in the Workplace Program, which was created in July 2001, has already aided the Wage and Hour Division to recover over $1.3 million in back wages for 1,900 workers as the result of investigations initiated by referrals from the partnership. OSHA, with the help of the Justice and Equality in the Workplace Program, will disseminate health and safety information, compliance assistance information and enforcement of health and safety laws. Nearly 70% of all calls at the Houston program were referred to the Department of Labor.
Program participants include the U.S. Department of Labor, the EEOC, and the U. S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate of Dallas, the Consulate General of El Salvador in Dallas, the Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc., The Dallas Concilio, the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission, the Dallas Police Department Office of Community Affairs, Casa del Immigrant, and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
For more information please visit www.dol.gov or call toll free 1-866-4-USA-DOL for more information.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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