U.S. secretary of labor Hilda Solis has signed worker rights letters of arrangement with the ambassadors of Honduras, the Philippines, Peru and Ecuador.
Under the agreements, regional enforcement offices of Department of Labor (DOL) agencies – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its Wage and Hour Division – would cooperate with local consulates of the four countries.
A DOL release said these entities will reach out to migrant workers with information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws.
“Migrant workers make important contributions to our economy,” said Solis.
“Today’s agreements help ensure these workers are aware of the right to safe workplaces and to receive full payment of the wages owed to them under the laws of the United States.”
The release said the agreements would help identify problems faced by migrant workers and target labor law enforcement efforts.
Honduras Ambassador Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro said “an important step forward in the cooperation between our governments that will promote the respect and defense of migrant workers’ rights”.
“This collaboration exemplifies our determination to help promote labor rights for all in our countries.”
Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr was positive about the agreement as well.
“We assure DOL we will do our part in ensuring the dissemination of helpful information to Filipino workers concerning their right to a safe and healthy working environment, and fair wages and working hours in the U.S., and in assisting them to seek redress when such rights are disregarded or outright violated.”
Peruvian ambassador Harold Forsyth said the letters of arrangement reflected existing cooperation between the two countries in jointly protecting Peruvian workers’ rights through public outreach campaigns, education and training.
“This program helps to promote a legal framework between Peruvian workers and their employers to ensure the enforcement of fundamental human rights and responsibilities in the workplace.”
Ecuadorian ambassador Nathalie Cely said her government considered the welfare of every Ecuadorian immigrant in the United States a priority.
“The agreements that will be signed with the Department of Labor are a useful tool to protect the rights of migrant workers.”