August 31, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 31, 2009
Food and Commercial Workers Join Mexican Consul General to Launch Celebration of “Labor Rights Week” as Labor Day 2009 Approaches
Local Unions Partner with Mexican Consulate in Thirteen Cities to Offer
Innovative Worker Rights Programming
(Chicago, Ill.) – The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is proud to partner with the Embassy of Mexico, the U.S. Department of Labor and allied organizations to promote the first “Semana de Derechos Laborales”, or Labor Rights Week. UFCW International President Joe Hansen joined the Mexican Consul General of Chicago, Manuel Rodríguez Arriaga, to launch the national outreach and education program that is taking place in thirteen cities across the country.
As Labor Day 2009 approaches, Semana de Derechos Laborales, which continues through September 4, 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.
“Our communities and neighborhoods are better, safer places to work and live when all workers know and exercise their rights,” said Hansen. “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.”
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.
“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”, said Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.
The UFCW is a proud partner in this week’s activities and has worked with local consulate offices to prepare activities uniquely suited to the communities in which they are offered. The program in Fresno, California, conducted by the local consulate and UFCW Local 5 will focus outreach to workers in the agricultural and dairy industries. UFCW Local 540 and local partners in Dallas, Texas, are taking questions about labor rights on a three-hour long news broadcast program on the local Univision network. The kick-off event in Chicago, Illinois will feature President Hansen and Consul General Rodríguez Arriaga, who will be joined by a number of community leaders.
More details about local events are available at www.ufcw.org
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 for comprehensive immigration reform.
Earlier this year, UFCW Canada and the Mexican state of Michoacán signed a landmark co-operation agreement to ensure that the human and labor rights of agricultural workers from Michoacán, Mexico are recognized and enforced while they work in Canadian fields and greenhouses.
With 1.3 million members, the UFCW is the nation’s largest private-sector union with members in the supermarket, meatpacking, food processing, and other industries.
Programming open to the media will continue until September 4. Inquiries and interview requests should be directed to Jill Cashen, UFCW, 202-728-4797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.