Government Affairs Updates

Michaels Meets with Foreign Ambassadors to Discuss Protecting Migrants

Wednesday, December 29th

From OSHA QuickTakes –

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels joined Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on Dec. 2 in Washington, D.C., in a meeting with ambassadors from Central American and Caribbean countries to discuss the potential for partnership agreements between their embassies and the Department of Labor on migrant worker rights. Michaels discussed worker safety and health issues with dignitaries from Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama.

Michaels told the ambassadors, \"The most vulnerable workers in the United States are immigrant workers -- your workers -- who are employed in the most dangerous jobs in this country, particularly construction. Sadly, because these workers are not always informed about workplace hazards and their rights to safe and healthful workplaces, they are being injured and killed on the job at significantly higher rates than other workers.\"

Michaels said that through OSHA\'s Alliance Program, the agency enjoys 11 Alliances to promote worker safety and health with consulates in Latin America -- 10 with Mexico and one with Guatemala. For example, OSHA\'s local office in Dallas has an Alliance with Mexico, Peru, El Salvador and Ecuador, and in the New York area, OSHA has an Alliance with Guatemala. There is also a Letter of Agreement signed by OSHA and Mexico that provides the framework for a cooperative effort to develop informational materials in a language and at a level that Mexican workers can understand; travel together to speak with workers in their workplaces about their rights; and collaborate with communities to hold events where OSHA provides vulnerable workers with important safety and health training. In addition, nearly 1,000 workers, employers, labor leaders, representatives from community and faith-based organizations, government, and Mexican consulates gathered for two days in April at the National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and Safety in Houston, Texas to seek new, effective ways to improve workers\' knowledge of their workplace rights and their ability to exercise those rights. Since then, as reported in the Dec. 1 QuickTakes, all OSHA regions have been hosting follow-up summits and educational conferences to provide vulnerable worker populations with education, training and assistance.

\"OSHA is committed to defending the rights of all working men and women,\" Michaels said. \"Regardless of their national origin, no worker should have to fear being injured or killed on the job to earn a living.\"

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