By David Courtland and Carlos García
Representatives from Oxnard’s Mexican Consulate and the U.S. Dept. of Labor signed an agreement to protect worker’s rights on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023.
The agreement extends one signed in 2020 for another three years, said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kimchi Bui in an interview with VIDA Newspaper.
The agreement renews a collaborative relationship that promotes outreach efforts to locate and inform low-wage, at-risk workers in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo about their rights and protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act, including the responsibilities of employers to pay legally required wages and benefits.
“We want to make sure workers know their rights,” Bui said. “We want to make sure they are paid properly.”
“Federal labor laws protect everyone who works in the U.S., regardless of immigration status. Workers who believe their rights are being violated can contact their local Wage and Hour Division office to file a complaint,” said the new Oxnard Consul of Mexico Ambassador Ricardo Santana Velázquez,
Calls can be made anonymously to 213-894-6375 or 877-552-9832. All information is confidential.
“We don’t even ask about immigration status, it’s irrelevant to us,” Bui said.
The agreement includes training for Consulate staff who take complaints from workers, as well as outreach events like radio programs and webinars.
“We have a truly effective relationship with the Consulate,” said Bui. “Working together they’ve been instrumental in helping getting our services out to the community.”
Bui said a typical complaint is not having been paid for weeks, not being paid at all or not being paid overtime.
Bui said that complaints came from various sources, but were often referred to her office by the Consulate.
“We just want to make sure workers are paid an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work,” Bui said.
“We are here to help and make sure that our people is respected and all their rights are respected and they get what they have earned,” said Consul Ambassador Santana Velázquez.