Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are here today to sign the Letter of Agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and National Labor Relations Board.

It is often the case that ceremonies such as these initiate a relationship, and are the beginning of an unforeseen future, a future full of hope in the things that can be achieved.

Today, we are in a different situation. We are here today to formalize a fruitful, long lasting relationship between Mexico and the National Labor Relations Board. This relationship, geared towards the protection of individuals’ rights, for the benefit of our people, of our two societies as a whole, will hopefully grow and expand with the signing of this agreement but, as I said, is already greatly beneficial.

I would like to thank the National Labor Relations Board and its Acting General Counsel, Lafe Solomon, for hosting this ceremony. I would also like to thank all of you, present here today. Each of you has a role to play in the protection of labor rights and I appreciate your interest in attending this important event. 2

I would also like to recognize the virtual presence of our colleagues of the Mexican consular network in over 20 cities across the US that are simultaneously watching this event via videoconference, kindly hosted by their local NLRB counterparts.

Dear friends,

The protection of labor rights is an issue of the highest importance to both of our countries. A strong and confident workforce is the engine of prosperity that can continue to move us forward. This issue is particularly relevant in the case of migrant workers, as they are often times most vulnerable and frequently exposed to abuses.

If our economies are to grow together, if we are to become an integrated North American region, we need to remind ourselves that growth and prosperity are meaningless if they are not built upon the fair and humane treatment of all workers. They are, at the end of the day, the very people we wish to benefit through economic prosperity. These fathers, mothers, sons and daughters do their best to provide for their families and, at the same time, make significant contributions to their host communities.

Our commitment to guarantee free association and individual choice in the workplace shall stand strong. We are committed to futher efforts to raise awareness among employers and business owners in the United States of the right that workers have to choose or not to, associate and select a representative to bargain collectively for better wages, benefits and working conditions. 3

I am certain that under the local arrangements that will follow suit, the collaboration between the fifty Mexican consulates in the United States and the 32 Regional Offices of the NLRB will have a significant impact in the working conditions of Mexican workers.

After months of hard work to bring this instrument to fruition, we could not meet at a more meaningful moment as the fifth edition of the Labor Rights Week will take place next month. Over the last five years and in partnership with the Department of Labor, a wide array of stakeholders including legal clinics at universities, unions, community organizations, faith based groups, state and federal labor agencies and consulates from many other countries have consolidated their resources in a symbolic one week effort, that spans over the rest of the year.

The results achieved by this initiative speak for themselves. We have served over one hundred thousand Mexicans and have identified and taken care of five thousand cases during the first four editions of Labor Rights Weeks.

Let me take this opportunity to recognize the NLRB regional offices that have participated in past editions of the Labor Rights Week and to renew our invitation to deepen local collaboration through this and many other initiatives. 4

Dear friends, the National Labor Relations Board has protected and promoted labor rights for seventy eight years. Today, with the signature of this Letter of Agreement, the Government of Mexico formalizes its commitment to join efforts with the NLRB for the benefit of Mexican workers in the United States.

Thank you for your attention.

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