WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor kicked off Labor Rights Week 2022 today with the first in a series of nationwide events at the Consular Section of the Mexican Embassy in Washington. Department representatives met with Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma, Rafael Laveaga, Chief of Consular Section of the Embassy of Mexico, Vanessa Calva, General Director for Consular Protections and Strategic Planning, Jessica Mendoza, Consul General of Guatemala, Lorena Mojica, Vice Consul of El Salvador and Allan Agurcia, Consul from the Consular Section of the Embassy of Honduras.
The meeting marks the start of outreach events throughout the country, sponsored by many U.S. government agencies and U.S. consulates of Mexico and several Central and Latin American countries to raise awareness and inform employers and workers of federal responsibilities and protections. Begun in 2009, Labor Rights Week has grown to include hundreds of local events.
The department’s contingent was led by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker, Wage and Hour Division Principal Deputy Administrator Jessica Looman and Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and National Labor Relations Board representatives also participated.
“Labor Rights Week is a time to recommit to our promise of protecting the rights of low-wage and vulnerable workers,” said Wage and Hour Division Principal Deputy Administrator Jessica Looman. “Joining with leaders representing native countries of many of these workers, the U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring employers understand legal responsibilities and that workers know they have protections under to the law to secure their wages, safety and well-being, and to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment.”
“We are working to make sure that all workers, regardless of their citizenship status, the color of their skin, or the language they speak, fully enjoy the right to a safe and healthy workplace,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “We are committed to embedding equity in our policies and programs so that all workers know their rights and get the protections they deserve.”
“We want to ensure that every person who comes to the United States seeking work has access to good, safe jobs that pay a decent wage and that they do not face any kind of discrimination or harassment – regardless of their immigration status. This is especially important in essential sectors such as agriculture, where many migrant workers pick, process and put food on our table. This means protecting their rights as workers from the time they are recruited in their home country through their time on the job in the U.S. and their return home,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “And, in keeping with our labor commitments under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, we know that protecting migrant Mexican workers in the U.S. will improve working conditions for all workers, including U.S.-born workers.”
From Aug. 29-Sept. 2, Labor Rights Week events will focus on issues such as wage theft, workplace safety, women’s workplace rights, protections for workers employed under the H-2A and H-2B programs, disability protections and human trafficking.