Governor Brown and Mexico's Labor and Social Welfare Secretary Navarrete Partner to Protect Migrant Worker Rights


7-30-2014

MEXICO CITY - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Mexico's Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare Alfonso Navarrete Prida met today and committed to work together to protect the rights of Mexican migrant workers in California.

"Temporary workers from Mexico play an important part in California's economy, and we must ensure that these workers are treated fairly and with respect," said Governor Brown

"It is primordial for STPS to ensure the rights of Mexican migrant workers in California are thoroughly respected. Specifically, we seek to support workers in situations of great vulnerability," said Secretary Navarrete.

During today's meeting, Governor Brown and Secretary Navarrete signed a letter of intent to cooperate in the creation of a voluntary pilot program to help prevent abuses in the recruitment of Mexican H-2 temporary workers going to California.

The hiring of H-2 workers is generally done through private recruitment and hiring agencies. The Governor and the Secretary discussed measures to improve transparency and accountability in the recruitment of these workers to reduce exploitation and prevent labor violations.

Today's agreement follows Governor Brown's meetings with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Secretary of Foreign Affairs José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Governor of the State of Mexico Eruviel Ávila, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico E. Anthony Wayne, Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquín Coldwell and President of the Senate Raúl Cervantes Andrade. The Governor has also signed agreements with Mexican officials on education, renewable energy, trade and to reduce greenhouse gases.

The letter of intent signed today is copied below:

LETTER OF INTENT TO COOPERATE ON A MIGRANT WORKER PILOT PROGRAM BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND THE MEXICAN MINISTRY OF LABOR AND SOCIAL WELFARE

The Government of the State of California and the Mexican Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare intend to cooperate in the creation of a voluntary pilot program aimed at preventing abuses in the recruitment of Mexican H-2 temporary workers going to California.

The Government of the State of California and the Mexican Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare recognize that:

1. The dynamic flow from Mexico to the United States of H-2 temporary workers reflects the deep economic and social ties between the two countries.

2. The hiring of H-2 workers is generally done through private recruitment and hiring agents, and there is ample evidence that during international recruitment processes some workers experience violations of their labor rights and exploitation.

3.Abusive recruitment practices also foster irregular labor migration flows.

4. H-2 workers are often isolated and lack knowledge of their rights and access to organizations that can provide advice and assistance regarding those rights.

5. Measures to improve transparency and accountability in the recruitment process can help protect and promote migrant workers' rights.

6. Government authorities and private actors, including employers and workers as well as non-governmental organizations, can each play a role in preventing abuses in recruitment and hiring processes.

This Letter of Intent will become effective on the date of the signature and is done in duplicate in the Spanish language.

Mexico City, July 30, 2014

For the Government of California
United States of America
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Governor

For the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare
United Mexican States
Jesús Alfonso Navarrete Prida
Secretary

The Governor first announced the Trade and Investment Mission to Mexico in his 2014 State of the State address and met with Mexican Consuls General from cities across California in March. Last week, ahead of the trip, Governor Brown met with Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs José Antonio Meade Kuribreña in Sacramento and invited Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to meet later this year in California.

The Governor is joined on the Trade and Investment Mission to Mexico by a delegation of state legislators and senior administration officials. A delegation organized by the California Chamber of Commerce with the help of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education that includes approximately 90 business, economic development, investment and policy leaders from throughout California is also participating in the trade mission.

For social media updates and other announcements throughout the trade mission, please follow these twitter handles: @CAMexicoTrade; @JerryBrownGov; @GovPressOffice; @CAGoBiz; @CalChamber and @VisitCA

Press releases and other content will also be posted at: www.business.ca.gov/MexicoTrade.aspx

**NOTE: A Spanish translation of this release can be found here.

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