[The CLC submitted the following letter to Secretary Solis, urging her to implement the first update of occupational child safety rules for agriculture in four decades. The letter was originally submitted in March with 105 signatories. This update had 156 organizational endorsements. Unfortunately, the Department of Labor withdrew the proposed rules in late April under strong pressure from the Farm Lobby .]
April 19, 2012
The Honorable Hilda L. Solis
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
RE: Updates to the Agricultural Hazardous Occupations Orders as Proposed by the Department of Labor
Dear Secretary Solis:
The Child Labor Coalition represents millions of Americans, including teachers, workers, farmworkers, farmworker advocates, and human rights activists concerned about the safety, education, and welfare of children who work in agriculture. We understand the needs of our nation’s farmworker families and have seen the effects of agricultural work, especially on children. The Coalition, along with the organizations listed below, support the proposed changes to the agricultural hazardous orders and implore the Department to implement the changes as quickly as possible.
As many as 500,000 children and teenagers toil in agriculture, an industry consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous industries in America. Last year, 12 of the 16 children under age 16 who suffered fatal occupational injuries worked in crop production, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Just this past August, Oklahoma teens Tyler Zander and Bryce Gannon, both 17, each lost a leg in a grain auger accident. We can prevent these tragedies from happening to other children by implementing the proposed updates to the hazardous orders without delay. The rules won’t impair the rural way of life; they simply put the safety and well-being of children above corporate profit.