The United States Department of Labor is a Cabinet department of the United States government responsible for occupational safety and wage and hour standards, including enforcing the nation’s child labor laws. In carrying out this mission and other responsibilities, the Department of Labor administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million employers and 125 million workers.

CLC PRESS RELEASE: Child Labor Coalition applauds progress in child labor remediation suggested by US government’s 2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

For immediate release: October 14, 2014
Contact: Reid Maki, (202) 207-2820, reidm@nclnet.org

Washington, DC–The Child Labor Coalition (CLC), whose 34 member organizations fight exploitative child labor, welcomed news in the US Department of Labor’s 2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor report released last week, suggesting significant progress is being made in the war to reduce child labor internationally. “The report is another sign that good progress is being made in efforts to reduce child labor around the world,” said Sally Greenberg, co-chair of the CLC and executive director of the National Consumers League.

According to USDOL, nine percent of the countries assessed—nearly one in 10—reported “significant advancement” in their child labor responses, and half of the countries assessed experienced moderate advancement. Nearly six in 10 countries assessed made significant or moderate advancement; 36 percent—just over one in three—were judged to have made minimal or no advancement.

“The numbers look even better if you dig a little deeper,” said Greenberg. “The 13 countries that USDOL said had made significant advancement are mostly ones that have battled substantial child labor problems—advancement in those countries (Albania, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia, and Uganda) is very encouraging.”

“Likewise,” Greenberg said, “the 13 countries that made no advancement included only five countries with large numbers of child laborers: the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela.” The other eight countries on this list include several small island nations. “If you compare numbers between the 2011 assessment period and the new report covering 2013,” said Greenberg, “the progress is dramatic: the number of countries making significant child labor advancement went from two to 13; those making moderate advancement went from 47 to 72. Those are encouraging results.”

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The CLC’s Open Letter to President Obama on His Next Secretary of Labor

January 30, 2013

 

Dear Mr. President:

The members of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), representing millions of Americans through unions, human rights organizations, and socially-responsible investment organizations, write in regard to the pending nomination of Secretary of Labor. We urge you to select a nominee who will make protecting children here in the U.S. and abroad a priority—just as Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has done.

We believe all working youth deserve the strongest labor, health and safety protections. Yet today, children who work in U.S. agriculture do not enjoy the same protections as children who work in other industries, despite the industry’s high injury and fatality rates. Youth working for wages on farms are permitted to work at younger ages, for longer hours, and under more hazardous conditions.

An estimated 300,000 to 500,000 children work for wages in the fields each year. Many children migrate with their parents each year. The impact of migration on the education of farmworker children is often profound, as migrant students are often forced to miss or repeat classes and suffer other educational disruptions. More than half of migrant children will not finish high school, and fewer still will go on to college, trapping most farmworker children in a cycle of poverty.

The next Secretary of Labor has the opportunity to improve child safety in the workplace and ensure that children, regardless of their socio-economic status, have an opportunity at fulfilling their full potential by working hard in school and not in the fields. … Read the rest

Poultry processor House of Raeford to pay fine for child labor violations at Teachey, NC, plant following US Department of Labor investigation

U.S. Department of Labor Press Release/Wage and Hour Division [Oct. 16, 2012]

TEACHEY, N.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor has assessed a total of $12,400 in civil money penalties against poultry processor House of Raeford Farms Inc. following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found minors performing hazardous duties prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions.

“Employers who hire young workers must comply with all federal and state regulations intended to keep our youth safe on the job,” said Richard Blaylock, director of the division’s Raleigh District Office. “This situation is particularly disappointing because the company previously was cited for the same type of violation. It is critical for employers to learn about and comply with the child labor provisions of America’s labor laws.”

Investigators found that two minors, both age 17,were employed in the company’s deboning department, where they were required to operate an electric knife in violation of the FLSA’s Hazardous Occupation Order No. 10, which prohibits workers under the age of 18 from operating or cleaning powered meat processing equipment, including meat slicers.

In addition to paying the civil money penalties, the company has agreed to maintain future compliance with the FLSA’s child labor provisions.

House of Raeford Farms Inc. has processing facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana, including six fresh poultry processing plants and two further processing plants.

The FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers in those nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor finds and declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old workers or detrimental to their health or well-being.… Read the rest

Changes to USDOL’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor by Country (2012)

Among the changes in this year’s 2012 update,  the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Good Produced by Child Labor by Country:

 

Additions:

[Product by country]

Afghanistan                        Coal

Bolivia                                   Bricks

Bolivia                                   Corn

Brazil                                     Beef

Brazil                                     Cashews

Cambodia                            Fish

Dominican Rep.                Baked Goods

Ghana                                   Fish

India                                      Thread/Yarn

Indonesia                            Fish

Madagascar                        Stones

Paraguay                             Bricks

Paraguay                             Sugarcane

Peru                                      Fish

Philippines                          Fish

Sierra Leone                       Cocoa

Sierra Leone                       Coffee

Sierra Leone                       Oil (Palm)

South Sudan                      Cattle

Suriname                             Gold

Uganda                                 Fish

Vietnam                               Bricks

 

New countries added to the 2012 list:

South Sudan, Suriname, and Vietnam.

 

New goods added to the 2012 list:

Baked goods, beef, fish, and thread/yarn.

 

To link to full report of the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (2012) go here .

 

 

 … Read the rest