[Unfortunately, HR 4517 passed the House on a voice vote July 24, 2012]
July 24, 2012
The Honorable Linda Sanchez
House of Representatives
2423 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Ms. Sanchez:
The 28-members of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) write to ask you to oppose H.R. 4157, which has the misleading title, ”Preserving America’s Family Farms Act.”
Given that the Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew the proposed hazardous occupations orders for agriculture in April and announced that they would not be re-issued during the Obama administration, H.R. 4157 serves no purpose.
The legislation does however send a dangerous message, suggesting that the Department of Labor’s goal of protecting children on farms was misguided. Nothing could be further from the truth. Agriculture is the most dangerous sector that children are allowed to work in, with fatality and injury rates that are truly frightening. The Child Labor Coalition estimates that the withdrawn hazardous occupations orders would have saved 50 to 100 children working on farms from work place fatalities. It would have saved thousands of other children from debilitating injuries.
The debate that led to the withdrawal of the hazardous occupations orders was characterized by high levels of misinformation and exaggeration. The rules posed no threat to the family farm. They specifically exempted the sons and daughters of farm owners working on their parents’ farms. The withdrawn rules merely represented common sense safety protections similar to those enacted by (DOL) to protect children working in other industries.
We urge members of the House to vote against H.R. 4157.
Coordinator, Child Labor Coalition
About the Child Labor Coalition
The Child Labor Coalition is composed of 28 organizations, representing consumers, labor unions, educators, human rights and labor rights groups, child advocacy groups, and religious and women’s groups. It was established in 1989, and is co-chaired by the National Consumers League and the American Federation of Teachers. Its mission is to protect working youth and to promote legislation, programs, and initiatives to end child labor exploitation in the United States and abroad. A list of the CLC members may be found at www.stopchildlabor.org.
American Federation of School Administrators
American Federation of Teachers
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs
Calvert Group Ltd.
Communications Workers of America
First Focus Campaign for Children
Human Rights Watch
International Center on Child Labor and Education
Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Initiative to End Child Labor
International Labor Rights Forum
Media Voices for Children
Migrant Legal Action Program
National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education
National Consumers League
National Education Association
National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association
The Ramsay Merriam Fund
Solidarity Center, AFL-CIO
United States Fund for UNICEF
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
United Methodist Church, Board of Church and Society
United Methodist Women
Walden Asset Management