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Mexican Consulate hosts 6th Annual Labor Rights Week program

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On Monday August 25, the Mexican Consulate General of Houston hosted the inauguration ceremony for the 6th Annual Labor Rights Week program. Labor Rights Week (Semana de Derechos Laborales) is a series of presentations and seminars on employee rights presented by governmental agencies and non-profit groups to help inform the most vulnerable employees of rights under US Law. The program included presentations by the Alternate Consul of Mexico, the US Department of Labor, The Texas State Legislature, Harris County,the City of Houston, and Consuls of 7 Latin American Nations (Argentina, Columbia, El Slavador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru)

The progam began with a video on labor rights in Spanish with English subtitles produced for the Mexican Consulate featuring employees and agencies explaining rights and options and encouraging all employees to seek help when they experience abusive practices in the workplace. Alternate Consul Claudia Velasco Oratorio explained the goals of assuring that all employees were aware of their rights to a safe and fair work environment regardless of issues of immigration status, or nationality. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia explained how his agency helped to assure the rights of all employees to be safe from abuse or unfair labor practices without fear of arrest or deportation because of a complaint.

Ms. Robin R. Mallett, Director of the Houston District office of the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor gave examples of successful intervention and civil actions against employers who violated the law by unfairly withholding wages and other similar practices. She stated that since Nationally since 2009, over $1 billion in back wages to more than 1 million workers have been been recovered. In Houston, since October 2013, in Houston, more than 50 referals have resulted in $600,000 in wages recovered for more than 300 employees, averaging $2061.39 per complainant, or 7 weeks of work at minimum wage. Mariene Tejeda, President of Fuerza Hispana de Conroe, thanked the Consulate and US Agencies for their work in assuring employee rights. She also explained the mission of her organization in helping employees with advocacy, literacy classes, and adult education. Following the speeches, the representatives of all the labor-related agencies and entities signed the “Program of Justice and Equality in Employment.

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