LOS ANGELES — It’s a relationship that began in 2012, and has paid off for Filipino workers.
Consul General Adelio Cruz and Ruben Rosales of the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division signed a moratorium of understanding, renewing their partnership for 3 more years.
“The signing of this arrangement is in keeping with the consulate’s program in pursuit of the 3rd pillar of Philippine foreign policy, which is the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare and interest of the Filipinos overseas. The consulate will continue its strategic dialogue with the US Department of Labor wage and hourly division in mapping out joint priorities for the length of this 3-year arrangement,” said Cruz.
In the past 7 years since the first agreement, the Labor Department’s wage and hour division said they’ve been able to aid many Filipino workers who have experienced wage theft and have been victims of labor violations, especially in industries such as health care.
Some of the cases have resulted in multimillion-dollar winnings.
“We have many cases throughout the year that we investigate that involve the Filipino community and we often need the partnership to helps to either get cooperation from workers to have them feel comfortable coming to the Department of Labor, and also when we’re done with our cases we have to find the workers to get them paid. It’s great to have a partnership and relationship so we can follow through all the different parts of our cases,” said Ruben Rosales.
The labor department stressed that a lack of immigration status should not stop workers from filing complaints or raising concerns about possible worksite violations.
“We don’t ask and it’s not part of our issues to police, and so we’re looking at the labor situation and the law applies to them and the rights just like anybody else.”
Aside from working with the Philippine Government, The labor department has also teamed up with local Filipino organizations. Among the projects they’ve successfully launched, the EMPLEO Pinoy hotline and app in partnership with the Pilipino Workers Center.