The U.S. Congress and indivual states have tried to tackle child labor problems through legislative remedies.

201 Organizations Endorse Legislation (CARE Act) to Close Child Labor Loopholes that Endanger the Health, Safety and Educational Development of Farmworker Children

The Child Labor Coalition is reaching out for organizational endorsements of the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety,  which would end exploitative child labor in U.S. agriculture. [The bill was introduced on Cesar Chavez Day, 3/31/2022 in the 117th Congress. We will post a bill number as soon as it is available.]

201 great national, regional, and state-based groups have endorsed this much-needed legislation.

We ask organizations to help us advance this vital legislation which would remove the exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act that allow children to work unlimited hours in agriculture at the age of 12; these exemptions also allow child farmworkers to perform hazardous work at the age of 16. A text of the bill can be found here.

The educational impact of child labor on U.S. farmworker children has been devastating. We estimate that two out of three children who work in the fields drop out of school.

The CLC’s press release explains why there is an urgent need to protect farmworker children and how the bill accomplishes this. Child farmworkers perform back-breaking work for long hours in excessive heat while they are exposed to pesticides and other dangerous agro-chemicals.

Organizations that wish to add their names to the list of endorsers, please email reidm@nclnet.org .

The 201 groups below have endorsed the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety between 2019 and 2022:

Action for Children North Carolina
AFL-CIO
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Alliance for Justice 
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers 
American Medical Women’s Association
Amnesty International USA 
Arkansas Human Development Corporation
Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance 
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs 
Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) 
Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, & Grain Millers  International Union 
Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, & Grain Millers  International Union, Local 351 (NM)
Bank Information Center
Be Slavery Free
Beyond Borders
Beyond Pesticides
Bon Appétit Management Company 
California Human Development 
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation 
Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities
CATA – Farmworkers’ Support Committee  (NJ, PA, MD)
Causa (OR)
Center for Childhood & Youth Studies, Salem State University  (MA) 
Center for Human Rights of Children, Loyola University
Center for Progressive Reform
Central Valley Opportunity Center (California)
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante
Child Labor Coalition 
Child Welfare League of America
Children’s Advocacy Institute, Univ.
Read the rest

The Child Labor Coalition’s letter to Wisconsin Gov. Evers, Urging Him to Veto Legislation that Would Weaken Existing Child Labor Laws

January 21, 2022

 

Dear Governor Evers:

 

The Child Labor Coalition (CLC) based in Washington, D.C., represents 38 groups who work to reduce child labor and the dangers of child work in the U.S. and abroad. We write with concern about legislation, SB 332, which just passed the Wisconsin Assembly yesterday. The legislation would weaken current Wisconsin child labor protections by lengthening the hours 14- and 15-year-old workers would be allowed to work—both on schools days and on non-school days.

The CLC fears that lengthening the hours of work will increase student fatigue and increase the likelihood of students dropping out.  Extending school hours makes it harder for kids to perform school work, participate in after-school activities, do homework, and get a good night’s sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than one quarter of high school students fall asleep in class now.

Driving to and from the job is one of the most common ways teen workers are injured or killed. Even if teen workers are being driven by older drivers, fellow co-workers, or parents after 11:00, their chances of dying in a car accident escalate with late hours of work. Drunk driving fatal accidents are four time more likely at night—the later the hour, the more likely the accident is to involve a drunk driver.

Currently, Wisconsin follows federal law and allows children to work from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm when school is in session (on days preceding school) and 7:00 am to 9:00 pm when school is out of session. The proposed new law would allow minors to work until 9:30 on school nights and to begin work at 6:00 am, lengthening the work day for teen workers by 3 hours and 30 minutes.  On non-school nights, the new law would allow minor workers to work between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm.

According to Business Insider, “The bill would keep in place federal rules limiting teens to three hours of work on a school day, eight hours on non-school days, and six days of work a week.”

Each year, 158,000 teens suffer work-related injuries—70,000 are hurt badly enough to have to go to the hospital. By increasing worker fatigue, we increase the likelihood of injury. Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago and a former member of Congress, is a victim of a teen accident. While working in an Arby’s he suffered a cut from a meat slicer. The cut led to a severe infection and gangrene and part of the finger had to be amputated.

In 2006, health researchers Kristina M. Zierold, Ph.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and Henry A. Anderson, M.D., chief medical officer of the Wisconsin Division of Public Health surveyed teen workers in North Carolina and found significant health risks associated with work by minors—and night work presented additional dangers. “Based on our analysis, we surmise that working later hours may involve circumstances that place teens at greater risk for severe occupational injury,” Zierold explained. Late at night, when managers have gone home, “teens may be asked to perform more prohibited or hazardous tasks than when supervisors are present.”

Read more

Press Release: Rep. Roybal-Allard, 24 Cosponsors Reintroduce CARE Act to Strengthen Protections for Child Farmworkers

[Released by Rep. Roybal-Allard]

June 20, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT

Ben Soskin

(202) 225-1766

Benjamin.Soskin@mail.house.gov

Rep. Roybal-Allard, 24 Cosponsors Reintroduce CARE Act to Strengthen Protections for Child Farmworkers

Washington, DC Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) led the reintroduction of her Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE), which raises labor standards and protections for farm worker children to the same level set for children in all other occupations.  The congresswoman announced the CARE Act’s reintroduction at a press event in the U.S. Capitol alongside advocates including Mónica Ramírez, the president of Justice for Migrant Women; Norma López, the chair of the Domestic Issues Committee for the Child Labor Coalition; and Brenda Alvarez-Lagunas, a former child farmworker who recently made national news for her valedictorian speech at her high school graduation.  Congresswoman Roybal-Allard reintroduced today’s bill with 24 House cosponsors.

 “America is morally obligated to protect the rights, safety, and future of every child in our nation,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.  “Sadly, our child agricultural workers do not enjoy these protections.  They currently face a double standard that lets them work at younger ages, for longer hours, and in more hazardous conditions than child workers in any other industry.  If we value our youth, if we support fair and decent treatment for all children, then we must pass the CARE Act and finally ensure fundamental protections for America’s child farmworkers.”

“Farmworker children pay the price for the inexpensive fruits and vegetables our nation consumes with their battered bodies, lost educational opportunities, and broken dreams because they are forced to work just to make ends meet for their families,” said Ms.Read the rest

CARE Act’s 24 Co-sponsors in the 116th Congress

The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety was introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard on June 20, 2019 with 24 original cosponsors (bold). For the goals of the CARE Act, click here.

 

Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44)

Karen Bass (CA-37)

Tony Cárdenas (CA-29)

David Cicilline (RI-01)

Yvette Clarke (NY-09)

Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)

Ruben Gallego (AZ-07)

Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)

Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)

Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Andy Levin (MI-09)

Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47)

Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08)

James P. McGovern (MA-02)

Gwen Moore (WI-04)

Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32)

Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)

Mark Pocan (WI-02)

Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP)

Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-09)

Adam B. Schiff (CA-28)

José E. Serrano (NY-15)

Albio Sires (NJ-08)

Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24)Read the rest