Food and Commercial Workers Join Mexican Consul General to Launch Celebration of "Labor Rights Week" as Labor Day 2009 Approaches

Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:11am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Local Unions Partner with Mexican Consulate in Thirteen Cities to Offer
Innovative Worker Rights Programming
CHICAGO--(Business Wire)--
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
press@ufcw.org. 





United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)
Jill Cashen, 202-728-4797
press@ufcw.org

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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