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Public Health Rep. 2013 Nov;128 Suppl 3:39-47.

Protecting labor rights: roles for public health.

Author information

1
San Francisco Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section, San Francisco, CA.

Abstract

Federal, state, and local labor laws establish minimum standards for working conditions, including wages, work hours, occupational safety, and collective bargaining. The adoption and enforcement of labor laws protect and promote social, economic, and physical determinants of health, while incomplete compliance undermines these laws and contributes to health inequalities. Using existing legal authorities, some public health agencies may be able to contribute to the adoption, monitoring, and enforcement of labor laws. We describe how routine public health functions have been adapted in San Francisco, California, to support compliance with minimum wage and workers' compensation insurance standards. Based on these experiences, we consider the opportunities and obstacles for health agencies to defend and advance labor standards. Increasing coordinated action between health and labor agencies may be a promising approach to reducing health inequities and efficiently enforcing labor standards.

PMID:
24179278
PMCID:
PMC3945448
DOI:
10.1177/00333549131286S307
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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