photo above shows Consul General Maria Hellen M.
Barber-De La Vega (left) and Regional Administrator Ruben Rosales, US
Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Western Region (right),
signing the Cooperative Agreement.
photo above shows Consul General De La Vega (left) exchanging the
Cooperative Agreement with Regional Administrator Rosales.
Los Angeles, 28 October 2013. - An alliance agreement signed today by the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles and the US Department of
Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (US DOL WHD), Western and Southwest Regional
Offices, aims to
educate Filipino workers, both legal and illegal, on their rights to fair wages and working conditions.
The alliance agreement establishes a collaborative
relationship to provide low wage at-risk workers in Southern California,
Southern Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas
with information, guidance, and access to education and training resources
to help workers understand the rights and responsibilities of both
employers and employees under the US Fair Labor Standards Act.
agreement aims to reach out to Filipino workers and inform them that the
right to a decent living and a safe workplace bear no linkage to a worker’s
immigration status,” Consul General Maria Hellen
Barber Dela Vega said. “The social contract
guaranteed by the US Fair Labor Standards Act includes a social protection
floor with strong safeguards for all workers, most especially the poorest
and the most vulnerable.”
Regional Administrator Ruben Rosales of the US DOL
WHD Western Region said the agreement was long overdue considering the
large number of Filipino workers in the region. “Every Filipino worker stands to benefit
from the agreement, in particular, the workers from the healthcare,
agricultural and domestic industries,” he added.
He explained that low wage workers often
face deplorable working conditions and are subject to labor exploitation.
The lack of information on available remedies by which these workers can
protect their rights further increases their vulnerability. As a result,
they are often paid less than workers in comparable occupations and work
He encouraged Filipino workers who
believed that they are not paid properly to file a complaint directly with
the US DOL WHD or seek the assistance of the consulate.
of the Pilipino
congratulated the Consulate General and US DOL WHD for the
partnership. She said that the
signing of the agreement sends a powerful signal to Filipino domestic
workers that the Consulate General is committed to protect their rights.
Consul General Barber Dela
Vega closed the signing ceremonies by saying that she will encourage her
counterparts from the other ASEAN consulates in Los Angeles to consider entering into a
similar agreement with the US DOL WHD. She noted that this is the first
agreement by the US DOL WHD with an Asian country in Los Angeles.
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