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U.S. Response to Mexico's Request for Migrant Worker Outreach

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and  Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare Jesús Alfonso Navarrete Prida  signed a joint ministerial declaration to carry out consultations under the  provisions of the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, the labor side  agreement to the North  American Free Trade Agreement, to help inform Mexican workers  about their labor rights under U.S. laws.

On April 3, 2014, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare Jesús Alfonso Navarrete Prida signed a joint ministerial declaration to carry out consultations under the provisions of the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, the labor side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement, to help inform Mexican workers about their labor rights under U.S. laws.

The Mexican Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare in 2013 requested ministerial consultations with the U.S. Department of Labor on issues raised in three public submissions filed with the Mexican Secretariat under the NAALC. The submissions concerned the rights of Mexican migrants working in the United States on H-2A and H-2B visas in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, food packing, fairs and carnivals.

The two secretaries agreed on a joint ministerial declaration that articulates cooperative activities concerning the matters raised in the three public submissions. Under the terms of the joint ministerial declaration, the department and the Mexican Secretariat intend to use the department's Consular Partnership Program, which has been in place since 2004 with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its consulates in the United States, to conduct educational and outreach activities to inform Mexican workers in the United States and their U.S. employers about workers' workplace rights and employers' responsibilities. This information will be provided in Spanish and English to workers and employers by the department's Wage and Hour Division and Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mexico's consulates, along with the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In carrying out these activities, the department and the Mexican Secretariat will seek input from stakeholders in the United States and Mexico.

Work Plan on Migrant Worker Outreach

On April 3, 2014, the Secretaries of Labor of the United States and Mexico signed a Ministerial Consultations Joint Declaration in response to Public Communications MEX 2003-1, MEX 2005-1, and MEX 2011-1 under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) concerning H-2A and H-2B workers in the United States.  The Joint Declaration directed the U.S. and Mexican National Administrative Offices (NAOs) to develop a work plan   for carrying out educational and outreach activities to inform H-2A and H-2B workers and their employers in the United States about their rights and responsibilities within 60 days of its signing and to explore possible collaboration to facilitate efforts to combat unlawful recruitment practices.

In consultation with the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as the Mexican and U.S. Embassies and Consulates in the United States and Mexico, and civil society organizations in both countries, including the submitters of the public communications, the U.S. and Mexican NAOs have developed the following work plan to carry out activities throughout the United States and Mexico.  The activities are intended to educate Mexican workers on H-2A and H-2B visas about their rights under applicable U.S. labor laws and how to exercise them, as well as to provide compliance information to their employers.  

Activities in the United States

Experts from WHD, joined by OSHA where applicable, will lead activities in strategic locations that will target H-2A and H-2B workers and employers in key sectors. The experts will present information to workers and will also be available to receive information from workers about their individual employment situations.  Other organizations, including the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Legal Service Corporation grantees and other local legal services providers, state labor enforcement agencies, and local labor advocacy organizations, will also be invited to participate and share information at the events.  Informational materials in Spanish on U.S. labor laws and how workers can exercise their labor rights, including how to file complaints, will be provided.  DOL will coordinate with the Mexican Embassy and Consulates and civil society organizations to find appropriate venues for, and to disseminate information about, these activities.  DOL and the Mexican Embassy and Consulates will coordinate on outreach and information dissemination for employers, including by reaching out to employer organizations.

The locations for, and sectors covered by, these activities were chosen based on: research on current H-2 worker populations; employer certification data from DOL's Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Public Disclosure Data, and OFLC's most recent annual report; DOL enforcement data; and consultations with the submitters of the public communications.  The proposed activities are listed in the charts below, subject to change based on available resources and other relevant considerations, including availability of appropriate venues.  DOL and the Mexican Embassy and Consulates will explore adding additional informational activities for employers, pending available resources and other relevant considerations.

Proposed Activities in the United States (listed alphabetically by state)

Location

Target Population

Date

Arkansas

H-2B workers

July 2014

Arkansas

H-2B workers

July 2014

California

H-2B workers

July 2014

California

H-2A workers

July 2014

California

H-2A workers

July 2014

Delaware

H-2B workers

July 2014

Florida

H-2A employers

November 2014

Florida

H-2A workers and employers

November 2014

Florida

H-2A workers and employers

November 2014

Idaho

H-2B workers

July 2014

Kansas

H-2B workers

September 2014

Louisiana

H-2A workers

July 2014

Nebraska

H-2A employers

January 2015

New Mexico

H-2B workers

September 2014

New York

H-2A workers

September 2014

New York

H-2B workers

August 2014

North Carolina

H-2A workers

July 2014

North Carolina

H-2A workers

July 2014

Oregon

H-2B workers

July 2014

Texas

H-2A workers

July 2014

Texas

H-2A workers

July 2014

Washington

H-2A workers

July 2014

Washington

H-2A workers

July 2014

Locations and dates to be confirmed

Activities in Mexico

Officials from the Government of Mexico's National Employment Service, the Federal Attorney for the Defense of Workers (Profedet), and the Labor Federal Delegations Bureau, coordinated by the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), will provide information to H-2A and H-2B visa applicants and recipients about their labor rights and possible unlawful practices by recruiters.  They will also be provided with materials on U.S. labor laws and the different mechanisms available to them to enforce their rights.  The officials in Mexico will coordinate efforts with the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico, as well as with civil society organizations, in order to reach the highest number of migrant workers.

Proposed Activities in Mexico (listed alphabetically by state)

Location

Target Population

Date

Baja California

H-2A and H-2B workers

October 2014

Ciudad de México

H-2A and H-2B workers

August 2014

Guanajuato

H-2A and H-2B workers

August 2014

Guerrero

H-2A and H-2B workers

September 2014

Jalisco

H-2A and H-2B workers

November 2014

Oaxaca

H-2A and H-2B workers

September 2014

Yucatán

H-2A and H-2B workers

October 2014

Locations and dates to be confirmed

Within 90 days of the time the last activity is completed, the U.S. and Mexican NAOs will prepare a public report about the activities.

Additionally, the U.S. and Mexican NAOs will continue to explore possible collaboration with Mexican Government offices in Mexico, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico, and civil society organizations to facilitate efforts to combat unlawful recruitment practices. 

 

Learn More: ILAB in Mexico | Labor Submissions under NAFTA's Labor Side Agreement