Mexican consulates in cities across the nation are currently holding events for “Labor Rights Week.”
In Los Angeles the consul general invited labor activists and government officials to a press conference highlighting worker's rights. Booths were set Monday in the Mexican Consulate’s main hall with information in Spanish about workplace safety, minimum wage laws, human trafficking and slavery.
Julie Su is California’s labor commissioner and says Latinos are one of the hardest hit groups when it comes to labor exploitation.
"Nationwide, Latino workers suffer more minimum wage and overtime violations than any other ethnic group," she said. "My job is to make sure that the labor laws of this state are enforced, the right to minimum wage, to overtime for all hours worked and the right to protection against retaliation when workers stand up for their rights."
Ken Atha is the regional head of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and says there is still a lot of progress to be made, "while we’ve seen a decrease in fatalities nationwide, we’ve seen an increase in the percentage rate of Hispanic workers suffering injuries and fatalities."
Atha says many Hispanic workers aren’t aware that the occupational safety and health rights act protects workers regardless of legal status. His agency recently signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that essentially separates immigration enforcement and workplace safety investigations.
This year Labor Rights Week programs will focus on women in the workplace.