During a ceremony today at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis signed partnership agreements with ambassadors representing the embassies of Honduras, the Philippines, Peru and Ecuador.
"Migrant workers make important contributions to our economy," said Secretary 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."
Under the agreements, regional enforcement offices of the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its Wage and Hour Division will cooperate with local consulates of the four countries. Together, the consulates and Labor Department agencies will reach out to migrant workers with information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws.
The partnerships will help the Wage and Hour Division and OSHA more effectively enforce U.S. laws, especially in high-risk and low-wage industries. This cooperation also will help both agencies identify problems faced by migrant workers and target labor law enforcement efforts.
"Honduras is extremely pleased to sign these letters of arrangement with the DOL, WHD and OSHA," said Honduras Ambassador Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro. "It marks 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."
"We are very pleased to sign these joint declarations and letters of arrangement with DOL," said Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. "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."
Ambassador Harold Forsyth of Peru said, "This agreement reflects the existing cooperation and full understanding between Peru and the U.S. to jointly protect Peruvian workers' rights in the United States regarding wage issues 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."
"Ecuador considers a priority the welfare of every Ecuadorian immigrant in the United States. The agreements that will be signed with the Department of Labor are a useful tool to protect the rights of migrant workers," said Ambassador Nathalie Cely of Ecuador.
More information about the agreements and the department's program to protect migrant workers is available at http://www.dol.gov/ilab/. The department previously implemented agreements with Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and India to benefit migrant workers. Other embassies interested in participating in the department's migrant worker program may contact Rebecca Rowles in the Bureau of International Labor Affairs at 202-693-4831.