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U.S. AND FLORIDA LABOR DEPARTMENTS AGREE TO COOPERATE IN ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS PROTECTING AGRICULTURAL WORKERS

 U.S. AND FLORIDA LABOR DEPARTMENTS AGREE TO COOPERATE
 IN ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS PROTECTING AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
 ATLANTA, March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Labor and the Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to enhance both agencies' abilities to administer state and federal laws affecting agricultural workers in Florida.
 "We intend for all workers -- whether in fields or factories -- to have decent, safe and healthy working conditions," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin. "Through the coordination of state and federal resources, this agreement will help achieve that goal for Florida's farm workers. I hope it will serve as a blueprint for similar efforts throughout the country."
 In signing the MOU, the U.S. Labor Department's Assistant Secretary for Employment Standards Cari Dominguez and Florida's Secretary of Labor and Employment Security Frank Scruggs agreed to coordinate outreach efforts, investigations and enforcement resources.
 Specifically, the MOU calls for a series of joint activities, including:
 -- conducting joint investigations when appropriate, exchanging information and seeking the cooperation of other federal, state and local agencies;
 -- sharing evidence for civil and/or criminal enforcement actions brought by each of the parties;
 -- developing and disseminating outreach materials identifying the rights and responsibilities of agricultural workers, employers and other parties, and
 -- making joint presentations to employer and employee groups to ensure they are fully informed of their rights and responsibilities under the applicable statutes.
 The MOU is an outgrowth of separate trips to South Florida by Martin and Dominguez in the wake of an Oct. 18, 1991, van accident which killed seven Guatemalan farm workers.
 Dominguez was in Tallahassee today accompanied by Wage and Hour Southeast Regional Administrator Jim Valin to join Florida Labor Secretary Scruggs for the signing of the MOU. In remarks following the signing ceremony, Dominguez noted that her fact-finding trip, conducted at the secretary's request immediately following the accident, "revealed many areas in which we can work with the state to achieve better enforcement of laws that protect farm workers. This agreement demonstrates our sincere commitment to coordinate these efforts."
 The wage and hour division, a part of the U.S. Labor Department's Employment Standards Administration, is responsible for administering and enforcing the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), as well as other laws that protect farm workers. MSPA provides wage protection and establishes transportation requirements including vehicle safety and insurance, housing standards and other labor standards for farm workers.
 -0- 3/19/92
 /CONTACT: Janet L. Ellis of the U.S. Department of Labor, 202-523-8305/ CO: U.S. Department of Labor; Florida Department of Labor and
 Employment Security ST: Florida IN: SU: EXE


BN-BR -- AT007 -- 9727 03/19/92 13:23 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 19, 1992
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