DOL Takes Steps to Better Protect Guatemalan, Nicaraguan Employees Working on U.S. Soil

On June 16, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis vowed to protect citizens of Guatemala and Nicaragua working in the United States.

Solis signed declarations with Guatemalan Ambassador Francisco Villagrán De Léon and Nicaraguan Ambassador Francisco Campbell in order to strengthen worker protections for these migrant employees.

"Individuals from Guatemala and Nicaragua make important contributions to the U.S. economy, and their workplace rights should be protected," said Solis. "I am pleased that the U.S., Guatemalan and Nicaraguan governments are working together to help make that happen."

The declarations will enable the regional enforcement offices of the U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA and Wage and Hour Division to cooperate with local Guatemalan and Nicaraguan embassies and consulates to distribute information to migrant workers about U.S. health, safety and wage laws. Training also will be provided to both migrant workers and their employers.

In conjunction with the declarations, letters of agreement were signed by the two agencies. The Wage and Hour Division will be able to protect migrant workers in low-wage industries such as hospitality and agriculture. OSHA will continue efforts to improve workplace safety and health conditions while simultaneously providing outreach and assistance to Spanish-speaking workers and employers.

Additionally, through these agencies, the Labor Department will be better able to identify problems experienced by migrant workers and to target labor law enforcement efforts. OSHA, for example, will provide a toll-free telephone number staffed by multilingual operators who are ready, day and night, to receive calls from migrant workers about safety and health issues.

More information about the agreements and department programs that protect migrant workers is available at http://www.dol.gov/ilab.

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