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News Release

US Labor Secretary Perez renews workplace rights agreements with five Central American, South American and Asian Pacific governments

Partnership renewals coincide with 2016 Labor Rights Week, Aug. 29-Sept. 4

WASHINGTON – At the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington today, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez renewed partnership agreements with embassy officials representing the governments of Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and the Philippines. The renewals come as the department kicks off Labor Rights Week 2016, from today through Sept. 4. This year’s theme is “Your Work Has Dignity. Know Your Rights.”

Under these renewed agreements, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division will continue their ongoing collaboration with consulates in providing information to workers about U.S. labor laws, including workers under H-2A and H-2B visas.

“Partnerships and outreach play a critical role in advancing workers’ rights and enforcing the laws that protect people at work,” said Secretary Perez. “By renewing these five embassy agreements, we will continue to enhance workers’ awareness about their rights and promote a better understanding of labor laws and practices in the U.S.”

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 improve their information outreach efforts by identifying problems workers typically face.

Ecuadorian Ambassador Francisco Borja Cevallos emphasized the importance of his country’s government working together with OSHA and the Wage and Hour Division. “This renewed partnership will improve the Ecuadorian workers’ standard of living, through a better understanding of labor laws and their rights in the U.S. The Embassy and the Department will cooperate to provide outreach and training, as well as assist with enforcement efforts as needed, so Ecuadorian workers in the U.S. exercise effectively their labor rights in a safer workplace.”

Echoing their support of the effort, Honduran Ambassador Jorge Alberto Milla Reyes said, “Partnerships like these help to acknowledge the value of the labor and the rights of the Honduran people working in the U.S.”

Labor Rights Week is an annual campaign in the week leading up to Labor Day that heightens awareness of workplace rights issues through a series of training events, workshops and information-sharing programs. As participants, consulates sponsor events throughout the U.S. and invite representatives from area OSHA and Wage and Hour Division offices to deliver informational sessions on U.S. health, safety and wage laws and explain the resources available to workers and their employers.

More information about these and other consulate agreements and department programs designed to protect foreign 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, providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/.

The Wage and Hour Division enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the H-2A and H-2B programs under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and other federal labor laws. More information is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

Read this news brief in Spanish.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
August 29, 2016
Release Number
16-1765-NAT