WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the nation's  leading organization for Latino working families, which represents the interests of over 2 million Latino/a trade unionists throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, issued the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistic's findings that Latino workplace fatalities increased in 2013. 

  • Fatal work injuries among Latino workers increased 7 percent in 2013. 
  • The 797 Hispanic worker deaths in 2013 constituted the highest total since 2008 and higher than any other working minorities. 
  • Of the 797 Latinos who died on the job, 527 (66%) were foreign born. 
  • The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) average penalty for unsafe work conditions is about $2,156 and the average fine for a death of worker is $6,000. 

"The reported death of 797 Latino workers is unacceptable, especially since these deaths were largely preventable," said Milton Rosado, President of LCLAA. "This significant increase in fatalities highlights the cruel working conditions Latino and immigrant workers endure because unscrupulous employers fail to properly protect their employees, especially those that are undocumented.

"While the number of Latino fatalities is troublesome, these numbers don't illustrate how many more Latinos suffer debilitating workplace injuries, but remain silent because their legal status leaves them voiceless in the workplace. Exploiting Latino workers and cutting corners on safety at the cost of the lives of workers has now become a common business practice for many employers.

"We have a moral obligation that every worker in America returns home safe after their shift. This starts by ensuring OSHA has the resources and legal authority to prosecute unscrupulous employers. Unfortunately, OSHA alone cannot carry out this task. At OSHA's current staffing, it would take federal OSHA 131 years to inspect each workplace under its jurisdiction just once.

"That is why LCLAA has always advocated the need for workers to unionize. Third parties such as unions can ensure workplace safeguards are in place and report safety infractions, lessening the amount of deaths on the job. We will continue to push OSHA to implement harsher penalties and increase resources to inspect and prosecute careless employers to prevent more deaths on the job."

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) is the leading national organization for Latino(a) workers and their families.   LCLAA was born in 1972 out of the need to educate, organize and mobilize Latinos in the labor movement and has expanded its influence to organize Latinos in an effort to impact workers' rights and their influence in the political process.  LCLAA represents the interest of more than 2 million Latino workers in the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), The Change to Win Federation, Independent Unions and all its membership. Visit LCLAA on the web at www.lclaa.org, on Facebook and Twitter.