Aug 31, 2009

UFCW, DOL, and Mexican Consul General Launch “Labor Rights Week”

Labor Day is about more than just celebrating workers. It’s about renewing our commitment to worker rights. That’s why this week, the UFCW is partnering with the Embassy of Mexico, the U.S. Department of Labor and allied organizations to promote the very first “Semana de Derechos Laborales”, or Labor Rights Week. UFCW International President Joe Hansen is joining the Mexican Consul General of Chicago today in that city to launch the national outreach and education program.

President Hansen on the outreach program:

Semana de Derechos Laborales is a perfect way to empower Mexican national workers with information and promote full participation in the civic fabric of our nation. The UFCW has been a union of immigrants for more than 100 years and this weeks’ program helps ensure that a new generation of workers has the resources to have their voice heard on the job.

Semana de Derechos Laborales will focus on the inclusion of Mexican nationals in American workplaces and communities. Programming includes workshops and informational sessions on labor, immigration, and human rights. Educating immigrant workforces about rights in the workplace helps raise the standard of treatment for all workers in industries where new immigrants often work, including meatpacking, food processing, and grocery.

As Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan said:

In the past few years, a growing number of immigrant workers were subject to abuse under a mantle of fear that was created by policy approaches which allowed unscrupulous employers to use immigration status to threaten deportation if workers reported discrimination, wage and hour or health and safety violations. We recognize the leadership of Secretary Solis in this issue and believe that joint efforts like the Labor Rights Week will strengthen our ability to protect the rights of our nationals abroad.

The UFCW has been a national leader in the fight to develop a fairer, more humane immigration system. President Hansen recently served as founding chairman of a national commission which studied federal raids on workplaces and made recommendations, and these events are a continuation of the work the union has being doing on immigration reform.

And this week’s partnership with the Mexican Consulate and the U.S. Department of Labor is historic and will prevent worker abuses from happening again and again. After all, communities of workers who are informed and engaged in upholding the laws of the land means stronger, safer and more established communities. Together, the UFCW and its partners can ensure that our nation stays true to its rich tradition of welcoming those who seek a better life.

More details about the events planned are available at

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