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 conference.
"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 those gaps."
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Cynthia Brooke, Communications Director
Interfaith Worker Justice
(773) 728-8400 ext. 40