Labor Rights Week 2021: Building a Future that Empowers all Workers

Labor Rights Week empowers workers

This year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is recognizing Labor Rights Week from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, 2021.

“Many immigrant workers have performed essential duties throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” write Jim Frederick, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Jessica Looman, acting administrator for DOL’s Wage and Hour Division in a DOL blog. “It is important that they have meaningful access to information about their rights as they work diligently during these challenging times. It’s also important that employers understand their responsibilities and meet their obligations. We are committed to working together through education and compliance assistance.”

During Labor Rights Week, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, DOL is hoping to get the word out that ALL workers have the same right to a safe workplace and fair pay, as well as the right to report possible violations without retaliation. That’s because worker protections apply to everyone regardless of immigration status.

“Every day, millions of vulnerable workers head to jobs where they unnecessarily face dangerous or unfair conditions,” write Frederick and Looman. “Construction workers aren’t given necessary personal protective equipment and suffer injuries or fatalities as a result. Dishwashers are told to work overtime without pay. Garment workers are paid for each piece they sew – but those wages are less than the federal minimum wage,” according to a blog published by the agency.”

Frederick and Looman add that some workers “aren’t aware of their rights because their employers failed to provide that information in a language they understand. Some are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs or being deported.”

The Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationWage and Hour Division and Bureau of International Labor Affairs are teaming up with federal and state agencies, embassies and worker advocates to deliver the message that all workers have the right to a safe workplace and fair pay.

For more resources, visit the Labor Rights Week web page.

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