Labor Rights Week: 3 Ways to Get Involved
During Labor Rights Week 2023, Aug. 28-Sept. 1, we’re getting the word out that ALL workers in the United States have the same right to a safe and healthy workplace and a just day’s pay, as well as the right to report violations of labor laws without fear of retaliation. And these worker protections apply to everyone, regardless of immigration status.
Too often, workers endure abuses at work for fear that if they speak up, they could be fired or even deported. These threats to workers’ rights are unacceptable, and they also make it more difficult for us to enforce the law, because the Department of Labor relies on workers coming forward.
Held during the week leading up to Labor Day, Labor Rights Week is when we join with the Mexican Embassy and its 52 consulates, other foreign embassies, community and faith-based organizations, and federal and state government partners to promote fundamental labor rights. We are grateful for these partnerships with organizations that have the trust of the workers we seek to serve.
In addition to participating in local outreach and education events, here are three ways you can take action:
- Learn about workers’ rights. Knowledge is power and workers who know their rights are empowered workers. We have many resources for workers. As someone who has advocated for workers my entire career, one of my top priorities has been to make these resources more accessible, understandable, and easy to use—and available in multiple languages. A good starting point is dol.gov/LaborRightsWeek. At worker.gov, you will also find information organized from the perspective of workers, with a Spanish language option for the entire website and additional languages being added soon. For any questions or help with rights at work, including how to file a complaint, call us at 1-866-487-2365. We provide assistance in many languages.
- Download our Labor Rights Week social media toolkit. From being paid on time to staying safe in the heat, our messages in English and Spanish inform and educate workers about critical workplace protections.
- Find out if we have collected wages for you or someone you know. One of the Department of Labor’s fundamental roles is to combat wage theft. If we investigate a workplace and find that workers have not been paid all the wages they are owed, we can recover those wages. In many cases, we get those wages into workers’ hands as soon as we recover them, but sometimes, we must find the workers first. We hold that money for three years while we try to locate workers. After three years, we are required to send the money to the U.S. Treasury. Search Workers Owed Wages — available in English and Spanish — to see if you or someone you know has wages we collected.
Here at the Department of Labor, we’re committed to ensuring that workers understand their rights and that employers understand their responsibilities. Too many workers endure dangerous or unfair conditions, or are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs or being deported. And too many aren’t aware of their rights because their employer failed to provide that information in a language they understand, even though it’s required by law that they do so.
The Biden-Harris administration is committed to empowering workers and promoting their ability to exercise their rights at work. We stand with our partners this Labor Rights Week as we fight for every worker’s right to come forward to improve their working conditions.
We also recognize many employers comply with the law and all employers benefit from robust enforcement — but employers who exploit their workers should never have a competitive advantage.
We hope you’ll stand with us this Labor Rights Week to promote dignity, equity and justice for all workers.
Julie Su is the acting secretary of labor.
Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Consular Partnership Program is coordinated by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. This program involves collaborations with local consulates through field offices of agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wage and Hour Division. Its goal is to educate and inform foreign workers about their workplace rights and employers their responsibilities, on laws including those related to workplace safety and health, proper payment of wages, work hours and other employment matters that individuals from other countries encounter while working in the U.S.
Tue, 08/22/2023 – 09:26