Nuestra Comunidad: Agreement for worker rights extended

The Consulate Generals of Honduras and El Salvador in Atlanta, along with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, recently renewed an agreement to protect and promote Hispanic workers’ rights in Atlanta.

The agreement renews a mutual partnership effort between Honduras and El Salvador to provide information, guidance, and access to educational resources and training for Honduran and Salvadorian citizens who work in Georgia.

The Honduran and Salvadorian consulate generals, as well as the Atlanta District Office of WHD, will work together to develop communication outlets and information for workers and employers, with the goal of increasing knowledge about the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and visa programs including H-2A and H-2B.

Latino worker rights are an ongoing issue of concern for various entities. This year, for example, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus noted that on average, Latinos earn 28 percent less than whites.

“We know that there are many violations that are occurring within the Latino community, and they don’t know where to call. That’s why, if someone has a question about a payment, I always suggest that they call us at 866-487-9243,” explained Rachel Mast, Community Outreach & Planning Specialist for the Department of Labor. She was present for the signing of the agreement.

Claudia Valenzuela, Consul General of El Salvador in Atlanta, voiced the same concern.

“You have rights, regardless of your immigration status. We have people who get paid less than minimum wage, or who are subcontracted and don’t receive fair compensation. This memorandum is important, because it allows us to have a constant alliance with the Department of Labor and to provide continuous information to our fellow citizens,” said Valenzuela.