Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Workplace Rights in Central America
The U.S. Department of Labor has renewed partnerships with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to strengthen collaboration with their U.S. embassies and consulates, and to provide information about laws governing workplace safety and health, wages and work hours, and other employment issues individuals from these countries face while working in the United States.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su joined El Salvadorean Ambassador Milena Mayorga, Guatemalan Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez and Honduran Chargé d’Affaires Javier Bú at a signing ceremony at the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, the department’s headquarters. They signed letters of arrangement with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division. They also signed partnerships with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.
“Our joint commitments with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras ensure that people from these countries working here in the U.S. are aware of the protections our nation’s labor laws provide, including the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and the right to be paid for all their hard-earned wages,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary Labor Julie Su. “They should also know that they have the ability to exercise their labor rights freely and participate in our country’s strong economy.”
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 identify problems workers face to improve and target their outreach efforts.
“Hispanic communities contribute to the economies of both America and their countries of origin,” said the El Salvadorean Ambassador Milena Mayorga. “That is why it is important to use a variety of resources to educate workers and employers about enforceable labor rights.”
“The government of Guatemala looks forward to its partnership with the Department of Labor on ensuring that Guatemalan migrants in the U.S. work in a safe and healthy environment, are aware of their rights and those are respected while in the U.S.,” said Guatemalan Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez. “We hope that through these partnerships we can work together to foster positive and meaningful relationships between workers and employers, and continue building bridges between our peoples to create more prosperity for our countries.”
“The partnership we are renewing [this week] is a clear example of goodwill, joint commitment, and efficiency in design of protection mechanisms in favor of the working sector of the migrant population in the United States,” said Honduran Chargé d’Affaires Javier Bú. “The agreements that we sign today make this association operational and have a clear focus on articulating efforts and aligning resources to promote respect for the rights of Honduran workers in this great country; it is the right and just thing to do, and it means a well-deserved recognition of the effort and sacrifice of our fellow migrants.”
Adapted from U.S. Department of Labor Press Release 22-812-NAT