The U.S. Department of Labor and the Mexican consulate in Orlando today announced an agreement to offer Mexican workers in Florida the resources to understand their rights.

The agreement comes as the Florida Legislature is considering a GOP-sponsored bill that would ban local anti-wage theft ordinances like Miami-Dade Counties.

The Department of Labor newsletter reports today that “the Wage and Hour Division’s Tampa and Jacksonville District Offices have signed an agreement with the Mexican Consulate in Orlando, Fla., to collaborate on providing information, guidance, and access to education and training resources to help Mexican nationals understand their rights while working in the U.S.”

The newsletter adds:

“By stopping the exploitation of foreign workers, we protect the rights of American citizens to good jobs. This agreement is another step in the Labor Department’s commitment to fair compensation and safe working conditions for everyone employed in the U.S.,” said Oliver Peebles III, the division’s regional administrator.”

According to the agreement (.pdf), the participants intend to provide Mexican citizens working in Florida the education and training resources to help them exercise their workplace rights in order to reduce “minimum wage, overtime, record keeping, child labor [and] safe housing” violations and to help workers understand the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

A report released last week by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University found that wage theft “occurs in different forms including unpaid overtime, not being paid at least the minimum wage, working during meal breaks, misclassification of employees as independent contractors, forcing employees to work off the clock, altering time cards or pay stubs, illegally deducting money from employees’ paychecks, paying employees late, or simply not paying employees at all.”

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