Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Officials urge immigrants to report labor abuses
No fear » Federal, state and Mexican officials issue joint Labor Day message.
First Published Aug 25 2014 03:42 pm • Last Updated Aug 29 2014 08:59 am

Federal, state and Mexican government officials are using the upcoming Labor Day holiday for a blitz to teach undocumented immigrants and temporary farm workers that they have basic labor rights — and should not be afraid to fight for them.

"All workers, regardless of their immigration status, have workplace rights under U.S. laws. They have to be respected," Eduardo Arnal, the Mexican consul to Utah, said in an all-Spanish press conference Monday, aimed mostly at local Spanish-language broadcasters.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

He said bad bosses sometimes do not pay the wages they promise, ignore required overtime pay or fail to provide required medical care for accidents — and then threaten to somehow have workers deported if they complain to authorities.

Representatives from the Utah Labor Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor said workers should not fear such threats, and should bring their complaints to those agencies without fear. They said they are focused on enforcing labor laws, not immigration.

Kevin Hunt, assistant district director for the federal Labor Wage and Hour Division, said his agency does not even tell employers who filed complaints, or even whether a complaint was filed, when it decides to conduct inspections for such things as workplace safety or proper pay.

Elena Bensor, spokeswoman for the Utah Labor Commission, said her agency tries to help any worker who is mistreated, and to assist them in getting the pay or benefits to which they are entitled.

Both agencies noted they have employees who speak Spanish who can help Latinos in their native language.

"You don’t have to have fear. You can seek your rights," Arnal said, adding that the Mexican consulate is working hard to spread that message.

It will sponsor workshops all week at the consulate, 1380 S. Main, Salt Lake City, from a variety of agencies to explain how to pursue different types of labor complaints. More information is available on the consulate’s website, consulmex.sre.gob.mx/saltlakecity.

Arnal said if Latinos don’t know what agency to approach, "Come to the consulate because we can give adequate and official information about where you can get help" from U.S. agencies without having to hire an attorney.

story continues below
story continues below

The consulate does a similar outreach to workers around every Labor Day. "We can help them to realize their rights have to be respected no matter their immigration status," he said.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.