Category archives for child labor
With agriculture ranked one of the most dangerous industries in the country, many Americans might be surprised to know that it’s still perfectly legal for farms to officially employ children. For years, advocates have been working to address this gaping loophole in the nation’s child labor laws, often citing children’s increased vulnerability to workplace-related injury, illness and exploitation. A new study confirms those concerns, underscoring the need to better protect the children and youth working in American fields.
Petrochemical companies spend millions to undermine the science on benzene; in-depth series sheds light on the horrific working conditions in Mexico’s agricultural sector; National Labor Relations Board rules in favor of worker organizing; and federal officials grilled on response to West fertilizer explosion.
In announcing National Farm Safety Week, President Obama emphasized his Administration’s commitment to reducing hazards of agricultural work – including for young people. So how are we doing at protecting children and teens working on farms and ranches? Note: There is no federally required safety training for youth working in agriculture. Estimated injury rate is 38 per day and fatalities, 115 per year
A Human Rights Watch report on children working in US tobacco fields resurrects Obama Administration decisions to abandon a Labor Department regulation to protect youngsters working in agriculture.
“For us it’s personal,” said Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator. “It’s a daily issue for us. Every day with a weaker protection standard is another day a worker is exposed to pesticides,” she said. On February 20th the EPA proposed revisions to its Worker Protection Standard for agricultural pesticides. Farm worker advocates are welcoming the proposal – the first update since 1992 – but see both improvements and what some are calling “steps backward.”
“Too often nothing happens,” said John Podesta, Center for American Progress chair and founder, introducing the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Majority Committee report released on December 11th that details federal contractors’ repeat and serious occupational safety and wage violations. “Too often the government renews agreements with companies that have a long track record…
Now that the Presidential election is over, it’s time for the Labor Department to kick into high gear expand workers’ rights and ensuring workers’ lives and health are protected. Here’s my wish list of tasks for the Labor Department to accomplish in the next 6 months:
The NBC News affiliate in California’s Bay Area released last week a multi-part investigative series entitled “Children in the field: American kids pick your food.” Congress and the White House embrace the fiction of family farms, but children working on farms tell a different story.