Rick Montgomery’s January 2nd piece, “Proposed Changes to Child Labor Law Could Affect Life on the Farm,” fails to note that the proposed Department of Labor (DOL) protections could save 50-100 kids from dying on farms over the next decade, according to the estimates of the Child Labor Coalition. Agriculture is the most dangerous industry in which large numbers of kids work, and the proposed regulations are long overdue, representing the first significant update of child labor safeguards for agriculture in 40 years. The protections are necessary because of widespread exemptions to child labor laws that agriculture enjoys and will continue to enjoy. The “parental exemption,” for example, will continue to exempt from coverage kids working on their parents’ farm. Children will still be allowed to work on farms at the age of 12 as long as the work task is not known to be especially hazardous by DOL. We would ask farm families, isn’t preventing 50-100 child deaths worth some minor inconveniences? This summer two 17-year-old boys lost their legs in a grain augur in Oklahoma. The proposed protections would apply some common sense protections and save thousands of teen workers from needless pain and suffering. Read more
CLC members—the Ramsay Merriam Fund, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association—made this web site possible through their generous support.
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