Entries by Reid Maki

Press Release: National Consumers League condemns legislation in Florida that preempts local ordinances to protect workers from heat exposure

March 15, 2024/in Child labor, Labor, Press release, Statement, Uncategorized, Workers’ Rights, Workplace safety child labor, forced labor, press relases, press release, press releases press_releases, workers_rights Press Releases, Statements March 15, 2024 Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831 Washington, DC – The National Consumers League is condemning a vote by the Florida House of Representatives to approve legislation that will upend Miami-Dade’s proposed local workplace standards requiring drinking water, cooling measures, recovery periods, posting or distributing materials informing workers how to protect themselves, and requiring first aid or emergency responses. The Florida Senate approved the measure yesterday. This measure rushed through the state legislature ahead of adjournment on Friday, March 8th and will prevent local governments throughout Florida from requiring water, shade breaks or training so workers can protect themselves from heat illness, injury, and fatality. Reid Maki, director of child labor advocacy for the Child Labor Coalition under the National Consumers League, made this statement: “Not only is the Florida legislature usurping the duty of local government to protect workers from heat stress in one of the hottest states in America, but by denying workers access to water and protection this Dickensian measure ignores the reality of heat and heatstroke among Florida’s workers. Indeed, hundreds of workers die across the U.S. from heat exposure each year. The legislation also forbids the posting of educational materials to help workers protect themselves from the heat. NCL has […]

Child Labor Coalition welcomes the Senate Introduction of the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety Act of 2024 (CARE Act)

Press Release March 25, 2024 Media contact: National Consumers League – Reid Maki, reidm@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2820   Washington, DC – With the beginning of Farmworker Awareness Week today, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), representing 37 groups engaged in the fight against domestic and global child labor, applauds Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and for introducing the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE). The legislation, introduced on March 21, would close long-standing loopholes that permit children in agriculture to work for wages when they are only 12 and 13—younger than other teens can work. The bill would also ban jobs on farms labeled “hazardous” by the U.S. Department of Labor if workers are under the age of 18. Current U.S. law allows children to perform hazardous work at age 16. “With their whole future ahead of them, our country must do better protecting children working in the agriculture industry,” said Senator Luján. “Across the country, thousands of children are working under hazardous conditions in the agriculture sector, risking their health and education. I’m introducing the CARE Act to raise the floor and bring our agricultural labor lines in with other industries to better protect children and improve the working conditions they operate in.” “It’s amazing to us that discriminatory loopholes, which allow very young kids to work 70- and […]

Child Labor Coalition lauds Wage and Hour’s child labor enforcement strategies that includes creating a fund for victims and use of “hot goods” provisions

March 27, 2024 Media contact: National Consumers League/Child Labor Coalition – Reid Maki, reidm@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2820   Washington, DC – The Child Labor Coalition (CLC), representing 37 groups engaged in the fight against domestic and global child labor, expresses support for the innovative enforcement strategies in this week’s enforcement action by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The action, announced March 25th, involved fines of $296,951 for a Tennessee parts manufacturer, Tuff Torq, and required the company to set aside $1.5 million as “disgorgement” of 30 days’ profit related to the company’s use of child labor. Disgorgement is a legal term for remedy requiring a party that profits from illegal activity to give up any profits that result from that activity. Tuff Torq, which makes components for outdoor, power-equipment brands such as John Deere, Toro, and Yamaha, illegally employed 10 children, including a 14-year-old, for work that was hazardous—an identified task involved permitting a child to operate a power-driven-hoisting apparatus, which is a prohibited occupational task. The Department employed several new or recent strategies in the case, including employing the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “hot goods” provision, which was used to stop the shipment of goods made with oppressive child labor. “The use of the ‘hot goods’ enforcement tool is also an important new strategy, which […]

The Guardian: “How child labour in India makes the paving stones beneath our feet”

“Despite promises of reform, exploiation remains endemic in India’s sandstone industry, withchildren doing dangerous work for low pay –often to decorate drivways and gards thousands of miles away.” By Romita Saluja Excerpt: Sonu and his mother work eight hours a day, usually six days a week, making small paving stones, many of which are exported to the UK, North America and Europe. Sonu began working after his father died of the lung disease silicosis in 2021. “First, he made five stones, then 10, and then he quit school to work full-time,” his mother said. The pair sit on a street close to their home, amid heaps of sandstone rubble, chiselling rocks into rough cubes of rugged stone. Sonu is paid one rupee – less than a penny – for each cobblestone he produces. These stones have a retail value of about £80 a square metre in the UK.   Read the story here.   [Published in The Guardian March 28, 2024]

Filmmaker SusanMacLaury: Protections For Farmworker Children Matter More Than Ever (Link to Free Film Screening during the last week of March 2024))

By Susan MacLaury, March 23, 2024  – In 2010, Shine Global released the feature-length documentary, The Harvest (La Cosecha), about three young migrant farmworkers – Zulema, Perla and Victor -who traveled across the US with their families harvesting several crops. They lived in substandard housing, worked without minimum wage protections, and routinely missed weeks of school which severely affected their academic performance. The Harvest was Shine Global’s second film. Given the success of our first – War/Dance – I erroneously assumed that finding the funds to make it would be no problem. I was wrong. It wasn’t until actor/social activist Eva Longoria joined us as an Executive Producer of the film that we were able to complete it. Eva was already supporting the efforts of Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, and was a champion for farmworkers. Eva and her colleagues raised 80% of the film’s funding through generous donors. She not only helped financially, but also joined us in DC to host a screening of the film for members of Congress where she supported passage of the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment in Agriculture (CARE) Act, authored by then representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). The bill would have amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), significantly increasing protections for child farm workers by “bringing the […]

NY Times: “Children Risk Their Lives Building America’s Roofs

“In New Orleans, Juan Nasario said he had been replacing roofs during 12-hour shifts nearly every day since he arrived from Guatemala four years ago, when he was 10. He would like to go to school or at least join a soccer team, but he needs to pay rent to his older cousin.”

Congressman Morgan McGarvey Introduces Bill to Help USDOL Build Its Labor Inspectorate

[The following is a press release from Rep. McGarvey’s office dated December 06, 2023] Congressman Morgan McGarvey Introduces Bill to Crack Down on Labor Rights Violations WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 06, 2023) – Today, Congressman Morgan McGarvey (KY-03) introduced the Workers Protecting Our Wage Earners’ Rights Act, or Workers POWER Act, alongside Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member of the House Education & Workforce Committee, Congressional Labor Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), and Rep. Greg Casar (TX-35). The bill will equip the Department of Labor with the resources needed to tackle federal labor law violations including child labor, wage theft, and workplace health and safety violations. “Everyday working people are the ones who power this country, and they deserve to work with dignity, free from concerns of stolen wages or having their health and safety put at risk,” said Rep. Morgan McGarvey. “This bill creates a better future for our country’s workers by empowering the Department of Labor to crack down on bad actors engaging in conduct ranging from child labor violations to wage theft. I’m proud to lead my colleagues in the fight to prevent our workers from being exploited and will continue working to ensure every worker in our country makes good wages and has safe working conditions.” The Workers POWER Act grew out of a federal investigation […]

The Guardian: “‘It Should Never Have Happened’: death of boy, 16, at sawmill highlights rise of child labour in US”

Please read the Nov. 28th, 2023 Guardian piece, which quotes the Child Labor Coalition,  here: https://tinyurl.com/2cy4yn65 Excerpt: “One of the problems with this whole debate is that legislators extol the value of teen work, but that’s not really the issue because every state allows teens to work. The issue is whether that work is going to be protected and limited to reasonable amounts that doesn’t harm the kid. At a time when we’re seeing such egregious (child labour) violations, you need to be strengthening protections, not weakening them,” Maki adds.

Press Release: Schatz, Young Introduce New Legislation to Help Stop Child Labor

[We’re sharing here a Press Release by Senator Schatz, 10/20/2023] Schatz, Young Introduce New Legislation to Help Stop Child Labor Bipartisan Bill Establishes New Criminal Penalties, Imposes New Steep Fines For Employers Who Violate Child Labor Laws WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) this week introduced new legislation to help stop illegal child labor. The bipartisan Stop Child Labor Act would increase maximum fines for violations, establish new criminal penalties, allow victims harmed by violations to file private lawsuits, and encourage collaboration between employers and government to stop child labor violations before they occur. “Right now, our laws are allowing some of the worst employers to get away with exploiting kids for labor with nothing more than weak fines,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill will strengthen our child labor laws, hold bad employers accountable, and protect kids from this illicit practice.” “Recent data shows that child labor exploitation is not a thing of the past or a problem limited to the developing world. This bipartisan bill would strengthen our nation’s labor laws to better protect our children,” said Senator Young. This week, DOL released new data showing child labor violations at their highest level in two decades. In fiscal year 2023, violations soared to 5,792, an 88 percent increase from 2019. This is due to […]