For Immediate Release
Historic Summit on Health and Safety for Latino Workers
Worker Centers, National Coalitions Join Forces with Labor Department to Protect Rights
CHICAGO - Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) publicly offered
its support for improving health and safety for Latino workers, along
with more than 50 worker centers, coalitions on occupational safety and
health, and grassroots community organizations, at the U.S. Department
of Labor's historic National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and
Safety in Houston, Texas last week.
IWJ's worker center network pledged to reach out to
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators to
build new community partnerships, train workers on their rights to safe
working conditions, and engage the religious community in challenging
unethical employers who steal wages and injure and maim workers.
"I am honored to join with other faith leaders in expressing my
deep concern for our Hispanic brothers and sisters who so often are
exposed to unsafe working conditions in construction projects and as
they clean our workplaces and homes, cook the food in our restaurants
and perform the myriad other services that make the lives of the rest of
us more comfortable," said retired Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of the
Galveston-Houston Archdiocese, at a plenary session of the DOL
"OSHA can't enforce the laws by itself," said Dianne Enriquez, IWJ's Worker Center Network
Coordinator. "OSHA needs community partners like worker centers and
occupational safety and health committees to reach out, train and
support Latino workers."
"Following the mining disaster, President Obama noted the gaping
holes in our nation's workplace health and safety laws," said Tom
O'Connor, director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health
(COSH). "We commit ourselves to supporting the President in addressing
Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) calls upon our religious values in order to educate, organize, and mobilize the religious community in the U.S. on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers.