Costa Rican workers in U.S. get more job protection

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has signed joint declarations and letters of arrangement with Ambassador Aníbal de Castro of the Dominican Republic, Ambassador Muni Figueres Boggs of Costa Rica and Ambassador Francisco Altschul of El Salvador to protect the labor rights of migrant workers from those countries who are employed in the United States. The ambassadors of México, Nicaragua and Guatemala, who previously signed agreements with the Labor Department, also participated in the ceremony.

The event was held on the first day of Labor Rights Week, during which the Labor Department and a network of 50 Mexican consulates across the country work together to educate migrant workers and their employers.

“Our goal is to help workers and employers understand that labor laws are enforced and enforceable, giving everyone the opportunity to comply with the U.S. laws that cover all workers,” said Secretary Solis. “Most employers take seriously their obligation to abide by the basic labor laws of this country. Today’s signing ceremony will ensure that important information on wages, health and safety rights are available to more workers, enabling them to be more knowledgeable and ultimately more productive, with a vested interest in the success of their employers.”

Under the declarations, the embassies and consulates of the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador will cooperate with the regional enforcement offices of the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its Wage and Hour Division to distribute information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws.

In conjunction with the declarations, letters of agreement were signed stating that the Wage and Hour Division will protect the rights of migrant workers in low-wage industries such as hospitality and agriculture, while the Occupational Safety and Health Adminsitration will continue efforts to improve workplace safety and health conditions as well as provide outreach and assistance to Spanish-speaking workers and employers.

A weeklong series of training events, workshops and information-sharing on the rights and responsibilities of workers will be held across the country.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, U.S. employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.

The Wage and Hour Division enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and other federal labor laws.

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