Help for Cheated Day Laborers

Hurricane Ike recovery means a lot of opportunities for day laborers. The Mexican Consulate in Houston also warns that there will likely be abuses by some employers. Rod Rice reports that the Consulate is working with the U.S. Department of Labor to help those workers who may not be treated fairly.
Following Hurricane Katrina the Mexican Consulate heard about a lot poorly treated Mexican workers. That's why this time they're tying to let employees and employers know that workers don't have to accept some one trying to cheat them.

Carlos Garcia is with the Department of Protection at the consulate. He says the partnership with U.S. agencies help fast track resolution of complaints.

"Once we get a complaint here at the consulate we can establish a direct link with the DOL in case the point of the issue is hours and wages, or we can also establish a communication with OSHA in case of accidents or safety violations."

Garcia says the Mexican Consulate can only get involved in cases involving Mexicans, but it can offer information and guidance to any workers who have been taken advantage of.

Since most problems involve wages Garcia says workers can get record keeper booklets to keep track of hours worked. The booklets were developed by the Department of Labor.

"They can record how many hours they worked, who what employer and how many hours they are not being paid for. We of course are handing out these booklets and explaining to the worker show to use them and the importance of these booklets, as well."

Garcia says workers are cheated because both parties think nothing can be done about it, but he says that is not necessarily the case.

Those workers who've suffered abuse on the job can contact the Mexican Consulate in Houston online or by phone 713 271 6800, or the U.S. Department of Labor online, or toll free 1-866-4-USA-DOL for more information. .
Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...