Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Family values? You tell me.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 first prohibited the employment of “oppressive child labor” in the U.S., which includes employing children under 16 in any occupation or employing children under 18 in hazardous occupations. However, children younger than 16 may work if certain conditions are met, and rules for agricultural and nonagricultural employment vary significantly. For example, the general minimum age for employment in nonhazardous agricultural jobs, outside of school hours, is 14 years.

Red states are fervently trying to roll back child labor laws. There are currently bills in ten states that would allow children to work at potentially very dangerous jobs. I ask that you read the following articles and let me know if you think this is wise.

‘They were little’: photos show children illegally working in US slaughterhouse - The Guardian

The department started its investigation into PSSI in August 2022 after a middle school in Grand Island, Nebraska, notified police that a 14-year-old student came to school with acid burns on her hands and knees. The girl told staff that she was working night shifts at a local slaughterhouse plant. Teachers also noticed that other students were falling asleep in class after reportedly working at the plant at night.

“It seemed to be known within the community that minors either are or were working overnight shifts. They told us about children that were falling asleep in class, that they had burns, chemical burns. They were concerned for the safety of the kids. They were concerned that they weren’t able to stay awake and do their job, which is learning in school,” Shannon Rebolledo, a labor department investigator, told 60 Minutes.

Trend toward loosening child labor regulations is a dangerous ploy to tamp down wages - Stl today

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds last week said she will sign into law a bill allowing children as young as 14 to work in roofing, construction and demolition, and loosening restrictions on work hours. In all, almost a dozen states have passed or proposed the unwinding of state child-labor laws.

This retrograde movement is rising in the shadow of new revelations regarding injuries and deaths to underaged migrant workers who are illegally hired by unscrupulous employers seeking to pay rock-bottom wages. As Reid Maki of the Child Labor Coalition told States Newsroom: “While we’re finding out that child labor is more pervasive and more dangerous than we thought, [these] states have decided: Oh, now’s a good time to weaken the child labor laws. … That’s really just mind-boggling.”

U.S. sees surge in efforts to weaken child labor regulations - The Guardian

The number of children employed in violation of child labor laws has increased by 37% in the last year and by 283% since 2015, from 1,012 reported cases of children working in violation of child labor laws to 3,876 in 2022, according to a March 2023 report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

“I think what we’re seeing in terms of the state push right now should be viewed as the latest multi-industry push to really wipe out regulation of child labor, not in one fell swoop, but that’s always sort of the end goal of the various pushes coming all at the same time,” said Jennifer Sherer, senior state policy coordinator for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (Earn) Worker Power Project, and author of the EPI report.

Conservative campaign rewriting child labor laws - The Gazette

Congress in 1938 passed the Fair Labor Standards Act to stop companies from using cheap child labor to do dangerous work, a practice that exploded during the Great Depression. But today those rules, which restrict the hours and types of work that can be performed by minors, are not strictly enforced, and the issue has become more polarizing since the pandemic began.

The Labor Department has seen a 69 percent increase in minors employed in violation of federal law since 2018, officials reported. Between 2018 and 2022, federal regulators opened cases for 4,144 child labor violations covering 15,462 youth workers, data shows.


One of the nation’s largest food safety sanitation services providers has paid $1.5 million in civil money penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the company employed at least 102 children – from 13 to 17 years of age – in hazardous occupations and had them working overnight shifts at 13 meat processing facilities in eight states.

The employer’s payment of civil money penalties is the result of the division’s investigation of Packers Sanitation Services Inc. LTD, based in Kieler, Wisconsin. The division found that children were working with hazardous chemicals and cleaning meat processing equipment including  back saws, brisket saws and head splitters. Investigators learned at least three minors suffered injuries while working for PSSI. 

14-year-olds could serve alcohol under a new Wisconsin bill - Washington Post 

Americans are too lazy to work at menial jobs but cheap illegals will fill the need and nobody cares how old they are or if they get hurt in the process. What is the line in the Bonnie Raitt song? We're moving in the wrong direction...

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