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187 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, H.R. 3394, which would end exploitative child labor in U.S. agriculture. [This is the bill number in the 116th Congress. We expect the bill to be reintroduced soon in the 117th Congress.]

187 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.

Rep. Roybal-Allard’s press release explains why there is an urgent need to protect farmworker children and how the bill accomplishes this.

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

The 187 groups below have endorsed the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety between 2019 and 2021:

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

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

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)

Center for Childhood & Youth Studies, Salem State University (MA)

Center for Human Rights of Children, Loyola University

Center for Progressive Reform

Centro de los Derechos del Migrante

Child Labor Coalition

Child Welfare League of America

Children’s Alliance (Washington State)

CLASP

Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking̶̶—CAST

Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Coalition on Human Needs

Communications Workers of America

Community Farm Alliance

Corporate Accountability Lab

CREA: Center for Reflection, Education and Action

Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families

Dialogue on Diversity

Earth Ethics

Earth Justice

East Coast Migrant Head Start Project

Episcopal Farmworker Ministry (North Carolina)

Fairtrade America

Fair World Project

Families USA

Farm Labor Organizing Committee

Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project (Illinois)

Farmworker Association of Florida

Farmworker Justice

Feminist Majority Foundation

First Focus Campaign for Children

Food and Water Action

Food Chain Workers Alliance

Food Empowerment Project

Food Policy Action Education Fund

Food Tank

Friends of the Earth

Futures Without Violence

General Federation of Women’s Clubs

Girls Inc.… Read the rest

Children Working in Terrifying Conditions in US Agriculture — New Research Shows Child Farmworkers Unprepared for Workplace Dangers

By Margaret Wurth

Senior Researcher, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Margaret Wurth, HRW

New research published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine reinforces just how dangerous agricultural work is for children in the United States – and how unprepared most are for what they face in the fields.

More US child workers die in agriculture than in any other industry. Every day, 33 children are injured while working on US farms. And they receive frighteningly little safety training, making their work in demanding environments even more dangerous.

Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine interviewed 30 child farmworkers, ages 10 to 17, and published their findings in two articles that describe how children are pressured to work quickly, with little control over their hours or the nature of their work.

“Sofia,” a 17-year-old tobacco worker, in a tobacco field in North Carolina. She started working at 13, and she said her mother was the only one who taught her how to protect herself in the fields: “None of my bosses or contractors or crew leaders have ever told us anything about pesticides and how we can protect ourselves from them….When I worked with my mom, she would take care of me, and she would like always make sure I was okay.…Our bosses don’t give us anything except for our checks. That’s it.” © 2015 Benedict Evans for Human Rights Watch.

 

The children interviewed feared having their pay docked or being fired if they couldn’t keep up.

They received little – if any – safety training. One 14-year-old worker said: “When you’re chopping with the machete, they say, ‘Oh, be careful, like, to not hurt yourself,’ but that’s basically it.”

Children I’ve interviewed for Human Rights Watch investigations of child labor in US tobacco farming had similar experiences, working long hours in extreme heat with virtually no safety training.

One 15-year-old child worker told me his mom – also a farmworker – was hospitalized after being sprayed with pesticides, but even then, his employer never told him how protect himself: “He just said, ‘Be careful.’ That’s all.”

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