Recent Event Highlights: Proposed changes to child labor law spark concern in Maine, Thai government urged to stop using child soldiers in militias, 11-year-old the latest victim of child labor, USDOLâs Polaski Lauds Liberian Union for Work on Child Labor, Islamist Suicide Bombing Kills Somali Star InternationalâSoccer Used as Tool to Prevent Child Soldiers, Consumer-labor group calls bizarre Missouri Senate bill to reduce child labor protections something âout of Charles Dickens novelâ, and 8 more...
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March 12, 2011
By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN
SALINAS, Calif. â A girl in Oscar Ramosâs third-grade class has trouble doing homework because six relatives have moved into her familyâs rusted trailer and she has no private space.
A boy has worn his school uniform for two weeks straight because his parents are busy with harvest season.
And while Mr. Ramos patiently explains the intricacies of fractions, he is attuned to the student who confides, âTeacher, on Saturday the cops came and took my brother.â
âI know you still love your brother,â Mr. Ramos gently told him. âBut letâs talk about your vision for your future.â
In the clattering energy of Room 21 at Sherwood Elementary here, Mr. Ramos, 37, glimpses life beneath the field dust. His students are the sons and daughters of the seasonal farmworkers who toil in the vast fields of the Salinas Valley, cutting spinach and broccoli and packing romaine lettuce from a wet conveyor belt: nearly 13 heads a minute, 768 heads an hour, 10 hours a day.
One-third of the children are migrants whose parents follow the lettuce from November to April, Salinas to Yuma, Ariz. Some who leave will not return.
âDear Mr. Ramos,â they write, from Arizona or Oregon, âI hope you will remember me. âŠâ Mr. Ramos, the child of migrants himself, always does.
Schools like Sherwood, and teachers like Mr. Ramos, are on the front lines, struggling against family mobility, neighborhood violence and the âpobrecito,â or âpoor little thing,â mentality of low academic expectations. But the often disrupted lives of the children of migrants here is likely to grow still more complicated as the national debate over immigration grows sharper.
Efforts by lawmakers to rescind automatic citizenship for children born in the United States to illegal immigrants are already stoking fears among many agricultural workers, and that has consequences for their children. Some parents, as they move with the crops, are already keeping their children out of school when they get to Arizona because they are worried about the bureaucracy and tougher restrictions in the state.
Despite the resilience of their young charges, educators at Sherwood face a catalog of need: 97 percent of students are near the poverty line, compared with 56 percent statewide. Seventy-seven percent have limited English, versus 32 percent throughout California. Only 6 percent of parents here attended college â the state average is 55 percent â and many are illiterate in their native language.
Though there has been progress, Sherwood hovers near the bottom of the stateâs performance index, along with more than 100 California elementary schools with a similar demographic, many in the agricultural strongholds of the San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys.
Even as Latino enrollments grow, the number of new teachers earning bilingual credentials has fallen in the last decade to 1,147 per year from 1,829, according to the California Teacher Commission. The shortage of bilingual teachers is hurting Latino academic achievement, said Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Teachers like Mr. Ramos, âwho have both language skills and the framework to respond to these kidsâ cultural assets,â Professor Fuller said, are all too rare.
Mr. Ramos, one of eight children, grew up following the lettuce, too. Home was a farm labor camp near Salinas, and he has traveled far. The camps â a setting forJohn Steinbeckâs âGrapes of Wrathâ â were the subject of his undergraduate thesis at the University of California, Berkeley.
In his classroom, he has built an altar of sorts: a collection of Berkeley memorabilia, crowned with the inspiring message âClass of 2024.â But even for the most determined students here, poverty and college often do not mix.
The challenges for children in East Salinas, known as Alisal, have deep roots: during the Depression, thousands of Dust Bowl migrants packed into tiny shacks. Today, Sherwood sits on a fault line of violence between the Hebbron Heights Surenos (blue) and the Fremont Street Nortenos (red) street gangs; a first grader was wounded by gunfire last year hiding behind a play structure. Students must dress in black and white to avoid gang colors.
Bruce Becker, Sherwoodâs violence prevention specialist, counsels students who sleep beneath carports and live in such cramped quarters that their parents take them to the local truck stop to wash up before school. Jose Gil, a high school teacher who has started an after-school basketball academy, said many of his students did not see much of their parents during harvest season.
âThey have little brothers and sisters to take care of, maybe cook for,â he said. âYet theyâre supposed to turn in a 10-page paper by tomorrow? I mean, itâs unreal.â
Recent crackdowns at the border have meant longer family separations. âMy momâs in Mexico with my little baby sister,â says one girl in Mr. Ramosâs class, a frequent hand-waver. âEvery day she calls me, but some days she forgets.â
Mr. Ramosâs approachable style contrasts with the tumult in his studentsâ young lives. He firmly discusses rules and respect for others with a boy who misbehaves at recess, but takes him aside to talk about superheroes and Mexican soccer, two affinities they share. And in time he learns that his student was worried about his father, who has been deported. Talking with another boy whose father and brothers were jailed for gang activities, Mr. Ramos suggests that he does not need to follow the same path. They discuss the boyâs goal of joining the Marines.
âHe wanted to get away,â Mr. Ramos said. âHe didnât want to spend his life in Salinas.â
Like those of many Sherwood parents, the life stories of Benjamin Soto, 51, and his wife, Oliva Resenaiz, 38, are told in their hands.
Mr. Soto completed sixth grade in Mexico; his wife stopped with fifth. The family lives in a landlordâs afterthought of a house down a dirt drive. A garden brimming with vegetables and a homemade swing beneath the avocado tree perk up the modest home. Though Oscar Soto does his homework on a plastic storage bin, he is one of Mr. Ramosâs most gifted students, able to solve complex math problems in his head.
When Mr. Soto wants to encourage his son to work harder in Mr. Ramosâs class, he displays his hands, thick with calluses, his thumb and forefinger permanently crooked from years of gripping a field knife.
âIt shows him what a hard life heâd have,â Mr. Soto said.
Rocia Picazo, whose daughter Sara is in Mr. Ramosâs class, leaves at 5 a.m. to pack romaine. Her face is barely visible beneath the protective gear that shields her from the chlorine used to sanitize lettuce.
She was shocked to learn that Saraâs teacher had labored in the fields, picking chilies, walnuts, apricots and lettuce. âI see his face and his hands, and I never imagined heâd do that kind of work,â Mrs. Picazo said.
The $394 million federal Migrant Education Program, created in the 1960s, provides health care, summer school and tutoring for migrant children. Still, nearly half do not complete high school. California has about 200,000 children in the program, one-third of the national total.
Sherwoodâs migrant student population dropped 10 percent last year, in part because other crops are providing year-round employment. In addition, said Rosa E. Coronado, the migrant education director for Monterey County, âParents are getting the message that itâs not beneficial for the children to move around so much.â
One boy in Mr. Ramosâs class did not attend school for five months. He spent his time on PlayStation. This year, his father will move for work. But his mother is staying in Salinas, worried, she said, that âmy son is falling behind.â
Families may also be more hesitant to uproot because of the immigration climate. Measures proposed in Arizona recently would deny education to illegal immigrants and require proof of citizenship to enroll in public and private school. The Supreme Court has ruled that every child is entitled to a public education.
Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who introduced a bill to repeal âbirthrightâ citizenship, said that conferring automatic citizenship and educating children of people who are here illegally is a âmisapplicationâ of the 14th Amendment.
âI donât think lawbreakers should be rewarded,â said Mr. King, the vice chairman of the House immigration subcommittee.
For families in East Salinas, disparities in opportunity come down to education. Terri Dye, the principal of Sherwood Elementary, said the trick was âunderstanding where the students come from but also having high expectations.â
And so at 6:45 a.m., Mr. Ramos can be found stapling âStudent of the Monthâ notices to the class bulletin board.
There are signs of progress in Room 21: last year, 13 students moved up a level in math, surpassing the state average. During reading vocabulary exercises, hands are raised often, accompanied by exuberant shouts of âMr. Ramos, Iâve got it!â
Outside the classroom one recent morning, Melissa Aledo described a change she had noticed in her son, Paul Gray.
[from The Press Trust of India]
Several activists of a city-based child rights NGO were today allegedly attacked and severely beaten up by some people while they were trying to rescue child labourers.
A group of âtraffickersâ allegedly attacked workers of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) with knives and iron rods in Khureji area of east Delhi and forcibly took away some child labourers they had rescued from there.
Four BBA workers were hospitalised with serious injuries to stomach, head and chest, Kailash Satyarthi, founder of the NGO, said. The attackers also threatened him with a gun.
BBA regularly gives tip-off to police and labour department about child labourers being engaged in manufacturing units in the city. Satyarthi said several such incidents targeting them have occurred in recent months.
âA mob of hundreds had gathered there.
[from the Lewiston Sun Journal]:
ByÂ Steve Mistler, Staff Writer
Published Mar 10, 2011 12:00 am | Last updated Mar 10, 2011 12:00 am
AUGUSTA â Groups representing restaurants and hotels sparred with worker advocates on Wednesday over a bill that would ease work restrictions within the stateâs 20-year-old child labor law.
The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, and backed by Gov. Paul LePage. Both believe high school-age students should be allowed to work longer hours and more often during the school year.
Opponents said the proposal would dial back child-labor protections enacted in 1991 to prevent employers from pressuring minors into working longer hours. They also worried the proposal would shift emphasis from education and school-sponsored, extra-curricular activities.
Currently, 16- and 17-year-olds can work a maximum of 20 hours per week when school is in session. On school days, students can work a maximum of four hours a day and no later than 10 p.m.
Plowmanâs bill would increase the weekly limit by 12 hours, from 20 to 32 hours. It would also allow minors to work six-hour days, up until 11 p.m.
Plowman originally proposed reverting to federal law by removing the limits altogether. That proposal was supported by LePage, but Plowman changed it amid pressure from worker advocates.
Plowman said her amended bill was designed to allow students to save money for college and to work jobs with later shifts.
The amended bill is still opposed by worker advocates.
Laura Harper of the Maine Womenâs Lobby told the Legislatureâs Labor Committee the bill could hurt classroom performance. Drawing from her own experience as a teenager, Harper said her employer would often schedule her to work the maximum 20 hours allowed under law.
Matt Schlobohm of the Maine AFL-CIO said Plowmanâs proposal rolled back protections that were established when educators were complaining that children were falling asleep in class after working too many hours.
âThis legislation takes us back 20 years,â Schlobohm said.
Industry groups, including the Maine Restaurant Association, argued Wednesday that Maineâs law was too strict compared to child labor laws in other New England states. For example, Vermont law aligns with federal law for 16- and 17-year olds and imposes no work limits during the school year.
Grotton said Maineâs law âpenalizedâ employers. But Democrats on the panel wondered what was driving the proposal.
âIâm trying to figure out where this is coming from,â Rep. Paul Gilbert, D-Jay, said. âEverybody says this is for the kids, but I donât see any kids (in the committee room).â
Rep. Robert Hunt, D-Buxton, worried the proposal would allow employers to âcoax kids to work more than they want.â
Grotton said those decisions would be made by students and their parents.
âBut what if the parent isnât as involved as most of us would like?â Hunt asked.
Representatives from the Department of Labor testified in favor of the bill. The department is now overseen by the LePage administration.
In 2000 the Department of Labor produced a 16-page informational flier outlining Maineâs child labor laws. The flier also described the dangers of students working too many hours during the school year, including workplace fatigue and operating machinery designed for adults.
Plowmanâs bill drew a sharp rebuke from Charlotte Warren, associate director of the Womenâs Lobby. In a release titled âWhatâs next â running with scissors?â Warren blasted LePageâs support for the bill.
âGutting child labor laws does nothing to increase jobs,â she wrote.
Posted : Thu, 03 Mar 2011 10:08:49 GMT
Asia World News |Â Home
Bangkok â The Thai government is exposing children to âsignificant risksâ by recruiting them in the war against Muslim insurgents in the south of the country, a coalition of humanitarian non-governmental organisations alleged on Thursday.
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and the Justice for Peace Foundation (JPF) said children between the ages of 9 and 17 were taking part in weapons training under the government-established Village Defence Militias, known locally by the Thai initials Chor Ror Bor.
âChildren under the age of 18 are exposed to significant risks due to their association with Chor Ror Bor,â the coalition said.
âThe militias are armed with a mixture of shotguns and automatic weapons,â the coalitionâs Arachapon Nimitkulpon said at a press conference. âOn occasions the militias are required to take part in military operations,â including searches for insurgent suspects.
Over the past four years, more than 4,000 soldiers, militia members, police, Muslim insurgents and civilians have been killed in violent incidents in Thailandâs three southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.
The Village Defence Militias were set up in 1985 as a successor to a network of local village volunteer groups established in the 1960s to combat communist insurgents.
In a report issued Thursday, the coalition and the JPF said field research in southern Thailand in mid-2010 found children were formal members of the government militias or were performing some duties associated with militia membership in 13 of the 19 villages visited by researchers.
âThey patrol the village, man checkpoints and guard sites vulnerable to attack. They may also be required to assist the local police or the military to identify suspects, including suspected members of armed groups, and on occasion are required to participate in military operations in the surrounding area,â said the report.
It called on the government to âexplicitly criminalizeâ the use of children under 18 by the armed forces, paramilitaries and Village Defence Militias.
Coalition director Victoria Adam cited an incident in which two children were killed in a military operation.
She said evidence indicated Muslim insurgents also were using child soldiers âin a range of different scenarios and activitiesâ related to the southern separatist insurgency.
âChildren have suffered greatly because of the armed violence in the south and a more comprehensive strategy is needed to protectÂ them,â Adam said. âAny military activity is detrimental to children.â
The Star/Asia News Network
SOUTH INDIA â MAKKAL Osai reported that a girl, Dhanalakshmi, 11, from Tamil Nadu became the latest victim of child labour and torture when she succumbed to her injuries at Kolenchery Medical Mission Hospital in Hyderabad, South India.
It was reported that Dhanalakshmi was in a coma when she was admitted to the hospital on Thursday.
She had sustained injuries like multiple burns and haemorrhage in her left eye.
Paediatricians and physicians found several burns on her body and informed the police.It was reported that her employer, Jose Kurien, who claimed to be a lawyer residing nearby, brought Dhanalakshmi to the hospital.
The hospital authorities said they were told that she was doing domestic work in Kurienâs house and attending to his sick wife. It is suspected that Dhanalakshmi was tortured in his house.
-The Star/Asia News Network
Liberian Union Receives Child Labor Award
by SANDRA POLASKI on FEBRUARY 23, 2011 Â· 0 COMMENTS
The Liberian countryside
I want to tell you about the remote town of Harbel, Liberia and the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL), which has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of workers and their children. The union just won the Department of Laborâs 2010 Iqbal Masih Award, an award that Congress established to recognize extraordinary efforts to end the worst forms of child labor.Â This award is given in remembrance of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani child carpet weaver who was sold into slavery at the age of four. Â He escaped his servitude to become an outspoken advocate against child labor before losing his life at the age of 13.
FAWUL won the award for their efforts on behalf of children on the Firestone rubber plantation in Harbel. For years, children had labored on the plantation alongside their parents to meet the quotas for tapping rubber trees. Â FAWUL was established in 2007, and by 2008 it had negotiated a landmark collective bargaining agreement that reduced the quotas by 25% and banned child labor on the plantation.Â In 2010, FAWUL negotiated a second contract with Firestone that went further.Â Under it, the company agreed to provide children living on the plantation with better schools. I imagine the children of Harbel no longer laboring in hot fields, but instead eagerly going to school with the same bright hopes for the future as our children have.
FAWULâs success shows how unions can transform the lives not only of workers but of children and how dedication and perseverance can make a real difference in the fight against child labor.Â It is also a testament to the importance of international solidarity.Â The United Steel Workers worked jointly with the AFL-CIOâs Solidarity Center and the leaders of FAWUL and other unions to organize training programs addressing child labor issues. FAWULâs work has brought hope to the rubber workers of Harbel and to their children.Â It is a model of what is possible when unions and employers work together to address real problems.Â I applaud FAWUL for bringing hope to the rubber workers and the children of Harbel.
Sandra Polaski is Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Laborâs Bureau of International Labor Affairs
By James M. Dorsey/(Correspondent) on February 23, 2011
Soccer star killed in Islamist suicide bombing in war-torn Somalia
An Islamist suicide bombing that killed a star international on war-torn Somaliaâs U-20 soccer team and wounded two other players constitutes a setback for the squad as well as efforts by the countryâs football federation to lure child soldiers with the prospect of a soccer career away from the Islamist militia.
The attack is likely to figure prominently when FIFA President Sepp Blatter meets Somali Football Federation (SFF) president Said Mahmoud Nur on Thursday at a Confederation of African Football (CAF) gathering in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. FIFA supports the SFF campaign that has succeeded in turning hundreds of Somali youngsters recruited by the militia into soccer players.
The three players were targeted by the suicide bomber when they walked home earlier this week from training in a heavily fortified police academy in Hamar Jajab District, an area of several blocks in the bullet-scarred Somali capital of Mogadishu controlled by the US-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) rather than the Islamist insurgents of Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda affiliate.
Under-20 international Abdi Salaan Mohamed Ali was among 11 people killed when the suicide attacker rammed his van packed with explosives into a police checkpoint. Players Mahmoud Amin Mohamed and Siid Ali Mohamed Xiis were two of the 40 people injured. Abdi Salaan was widely viewed as one of Somaliaâs best young players.
Thousands have signed a book of condolence that was opened at the Somali Football Federationâs headquarters in Mogadishu.
The SFFâs FIFA-backed campaign under the slogan âPut down the gun, pick up the ballâ is one of the few successful civic efforts to confront the jihadists.
âHowever difficult our situation is, we believe football can play a major role in helping peace and stability prevail in our country, and that is what our federation has long been striving to attain. Football is here to stay, not only as a game to be played but as a catalyst for peace and harmony in society,â says Shafiâi Moyhaddin Abokar, one of the driving forces behind the campaign.
âIf we keep the young generation for football, al-Shabab canât recruit them to fight. This is really why al-Shabab fights with us,â addsÂ Abdulghani Sayeed,Â another Somali soccer executive.
Players and enthusiasts risk execution, arrest and torture in Somalia, where jihadists who control much of the country have banned soccer as un-Islamic. Militants in their trademark green jumpsuits and chequered scarves drive through towns in the south of the country in Toyota pickup trucks mounted with megaphones to enforce the ban.
Families are threatened with punishment if their children fail to enlist as fighters. Boys are plucked from makeshift soccer fields. Childless families are ordered to pay al-Shabab $50 a month, the equivalent of Somaliaâs monthly per capita income. Local soccer club owners are detained and tortured on charges of misguiding youth.
James M. Dorsey authors The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog
For release: February 24, 2011
Washington, DCâThe National Consumers League (NCL), the organization which helped pass federal child labor laws in the United States more than 70 years ago, is calling a Missouri bill to bring back child labor âstraight out of a Charles Dickens novel.âÂ The 112-year-old NCL is condemning a bill introduced in the Missouri state SenateÂ by Republican Jane Cunningham that wouldÂ eliminate the prohibition on employment of children under age 14.
âLabor crusader Florence Kelley would be rolling over in her grave,â said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. âThis is a new low,â said Greenberg. âThose who are attacking labor and worker protections are now apparently willing to put children back into factories or coal mines.â
Florence Kelley led NCL as the organizationâs first Executive Secretary from its founding in 1899 to her death in 1932 and helped draft and enact many of the child labor laws in the United States. The National Consumers League currently co-chairs the 26-member Child Labor Coalition (www.stopchildlabor.org), which works to maintain and improve standards and protections for children working both in the United States and abroad.
The Missouri legislation, SB 222:
removes the restrictions on the maxium number of hours and time of day during which a child may work;
repeals the requirement that a child ages 14 or 15 obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed;
allows children under 16 to work in any capacity in a motel, resort, or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished; and,
removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. It also repeals the presumption that the presence of a child in a workplace is evidence of employment.
âThe last provision would make it extremely difficult for state labor inspectors to detect child labor in the workplace,â said Reid Maki, coordinator of the CLC and NCLâs Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Fair Labor Standards. âSenator Cunningham is portraying these changes as common sense and innocuous amendments to current law, but they are really a full-frontal assault on child labor protections. Cunningham believes that allowing children to work late into the night makes sense, but late-night hours would expose teens to a greater risk of robbery and assault as well as make it more difficult for the young workers to perform well in school the next morning.â
âAmericans support the bedrock principle that children should be in school and not in the workplace,â noted Greenberg, who serves as co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition. âNCL and other organizations fought for decades to achieve the protections we have today for young workers. We cannot and should not roll back the clock.â
Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,Â email@example.com
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is Americaâs pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.
Society for Research in Child Development Press Release
Many teens work part-time during the school year, and in the current economic climate, more youths may take jobs to help out with family finances. But caution is advised: Among high school students, working more than 20 hours a week during the school year can lead to academic and behavior problems.
Thatâs the finding of a new study by researchers at the University of Washington, University of Virginia, and Temple University. It appears in the January/February issue of the journal, Child Development.
In a reanalysis of longitudinal data collected in the late 1980s, researchers examined the impact of getting a job or leaving work among middle-class teens in 10th and 11th grades. Drawing from the full sample of about 1,800 individuals, the researchers compared adolescents who got jobs to similar teens who didnât work, and adolescents who left jobs to similar teens who kept working.
Using advances in statistical methods, the researchers matched the teens on a long list of background and personality characteristics that are known to influence whether or not a young person chooses to work; using this technique allowed more certainty in estimating the effects of working on adolescentsâ development than in the original analysis of the data.
The researchers found that working for more than 20 hours a week was associated with declines in school engagement and how far adolescents were expected to go in school, and increases in problem behavior such as stealing, carrying a weapon, and using alcohol and illegal drugs. They also found that things didnât get better when teens who were working more than 20 hours a week cut back their hours or stopped working altogether. In contrast, working 20 hours or less a week had negligible academic, psychological, or behavioral effects.
âWorking part-time during the school year has been a fixture of American adolescence for more than 30 years,â notes Kathryn C. Monahan, a postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Washington, who led the study. âToday, a substantial proportion of American high school students hold part-time jobs during the school year, and a large number of them work more than 20 hours each week.
âAlthough working during high school is unlikely to turn law-abiding teenagers into felons or cause students to flunk out of school, the extent of the adverse effects we found is not trivial, and even a small decline in school engagement or increase in problem behavior may be of concern to many parents,â she adds.
The bottom line, suggests Monahan: âParents, educators, and policymakers should monitor and constrain the number of hours adolescents work while they are enrolled in high school.â
The study was supported, in part, by the U.S. Department of Education.
Summarized from Child Development, Vol. 82, Issue 1, Revisiting the Impact of Part-Time Work on Adolescent Adjustment: Distinguishing Between Selection and Socialization Using Propensity Score Matching by Monahan, KC (University of Washington), Lee, JM (University of Virginia), and Steinberg, L (Temple University). Copyright
Society for Research in Child Development
1313 L Street, NW, Suite 140 ï· Washington, DC 20005 USA
Tel: 202.289-7905 ï· Fax: 202.289-4203 ï· Website: www.srcd.org
Child Development (January/February issue)
Society for Research in Child Development
Office for Policy and Communications
[This report was originally issued in Spring 2010]
National Consumers League Report:
2010âs Five Worst Teen Jobs
Traveling Youth Sales Crews
Construction and Height Work
Outside Helper: Landscaping, Groundskeeping and Lawn Service
Agriculture: Harvesting Crops
Driver/Operator: Forklifts, Tractors, and ATVâs
[The five worst jobs for teens are not ranked in order]
Itâs that time of the year. Teenagers are starting to think about their summer jobs. Where will they work? What kind of work will they do? What will it pay?
In 2008, approximately 2.3 million adolescents aged 15 to 17 years worked in the U.S. Unfortunately, the global recession has impacted teen hiring here in the U.S. and jobs are particularly hard to come by for teens these days. According to the New York Times in April 2010, the U.S. economy lost 8.2 million jobs in the previous two years and the teen unemployment rate had risen 26 percent, compared to 9.7 percent for the nation at large. Increasingly, teens are competing with more experienced adults for jobs. The National Consumer League (NCL) worries that the difficulty in finding jobs will lead teens to take jobs that are too dangerous for them.
Jobs for teens are an important part of youth development, providing both needed income and teaching valuable work skills, but we urge teenage workers to ask an important question: Will the job I take be a safe one? The wrong choice could harm you or even kill you.
Each day in America, 14 workers die. In 2008, 34 workers under 18 died in the workplace.
Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to accidents both in normal life and at work. Accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 19. In fact, more youth between 10 and 19 die from injuries than die from all other causes combined.
The last six months have seen a number of gruesome news stories about teen work deaths:
A 14-year-old in Poquoson, Virginia who was working for a lawn care company was killed instantly when he was pulled into a wood chipper last November;
A 17-year-old doughnut shop worker fell into a normally-covered cesspool and drowned in Smithtown, New York this March (authorities believe the cover got knocked off during snow plowing); and
The body of 18-year-old Jennifer Hammondâlast seen six years earlier selling magazines door-to-doorâwas discovered in Saratoga County, New York. Hammond was the apparent victim of a homicide.
Could these deaths have been prevented? Two of the jobs mentioned above are on our list of âWorst Jobs for Teensâ that we recommend teenagers avoid. The 14-year-old killed by the wood chipper, Frank Gornik, was too young to be legally working with potentially deadly equipment like a wood chipper. Better knowledge of the law, which requires a worker to be 18 to work with a wood chipper, may have prevented his death.
Deaths from Driving
The most common way for a teen worker to die is in a traffic accident. According to one recent study on unintentional injuries, seven in 10 accidental deaths result from car crashes. In 2008 data from the federal government, 43 of 97 deaths of workers under 19 came in transportation accidents.
We encourage young workers to look for jobs in which they do not drive, are not regularly driven by others or are not driven great distances. When in a car, young workers should wear their seat belt. They should ask that their driver not be distracted by using a cell phone, eating, or other disruptions. They should insist that they drive at safe speeds. According to several studies, the perception that driving in rural areas is safe is very misleading. Rural crashes are more frequent and more severe on a per capita or per mile basis. One report estimated that some rural counties are 100 times more dangerous than many urban counties.
Restaurants, Grocery Stores & Retail Stores
In terms of raw numbers, retail establishments, restaurants, and grocery stores are three of the largest employers of teen workers.
Many teens work in restaurants are at risk of burns and other kitchen-related injuries. In some states, restaurants rank first in the number of youth work injuries, although the injuries are often less severe than in many of the occupations cited in this report. Fryers, meat slicers, knives, compactors, and wet, greasy floors can all combine to form a dangerous work environment.
At times, teenagers work in what is typically a safe environment but do unsafe tasks. For example, grocery stores employ a lot of teen workers and for the most part they provide a safe work environment. However, when workers are rushing or are improperly trained accidents can happen. Workers under 18 are allowed to load trash compactorsâfound in most grocery storesâbut they are prohibited from operating them because of a number of gruesome accidents that have occurred to users in the past. Safety specialists worry that improperly trained youth will not obey the law. Similarly, minorsâunless they are working in agricultureâare not allowed to drive a forklift, but young people will sometimes get behind the wheel anyway.
Last year, a woman, barely 18, working in a grocery in Indiana, lost her hand trying to clean a grinder in a grocery store. In April, a New York supermarket was cited for illegally employing a 17-year-old to slice deli meat in violation of child labor hazardous orders.
Retail stores may seem like a safe environment but teens can get hurt lifting boxes, cutting boxes open, crushing boxes, and falling from ladders.
Mall and grocery parking lots are often the site of car accidents and can also be dangerous for young workers.
Nearly all work places hold some danger. Our goal is not to paralyze teen workers with fear but to get them and employers to minimize the risks involved.
Restaurants and retail establishments also hold risks of workplace violence. According to 2008 federal data, 17 workers between the ages of 16 and 19 died from workplace violence.
In January, an Illinois teenager was beaten and sexually assaulted after being abducted from the sandwich shop where she worked alone at night. In some inner cities, young fast-food workers have reported routinely having to deal with gang members who come in to harass and rob them.
Teen workers should not be asked to work alone at night. Employers should discuss security procedures with employees in detail. The Illinois teen who was abducted had become aware that a suspicious person was watching her but did not call the police. She texted her concerns to her boyfriend who rushed to the workplace. He arrived too late to prevent the abduction
Causes of Injuries
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the causes of workplace injuries typically fall into these seven categories:
Inadequate safety training;
Dangerous work that is illegal or inappropriate for youth;
Trying to hurry; and
Alcohol and drug use.
The most common causes of death for the 97 young workers (under 19) who died in 2008:
1) transportation accidents;
2) contact with objects and equipment;
3) violent acts;
4) exposure to harmful substances or environments,
6) getting caught in or crushed by collapsing materials; and
7) drowning or submersion.
Of those 97 youth deaths, in 34 cases the worker was under 18. Of those 34 deaths, 23 involved 16- and 17-year-olds and 11âor 32 percentâinvolved workers under 16. If parents are thinking that employers would only permit older teens to do dangerous tasks and that younger teens are safer, the statistics do not support that logic.
Males are much more at risk than females. Only one in every 14 adult workers who died at work was a women. Of the 5,071 workers who died in 2008, 1.9 percent were 19 or under.
Many youth involved in workplace accidents are fortunate enough to escape death but receive serious injuries. In 2007, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that there were 48,600 work-related injuries and illnesses among youth 15 to 17 years of age that were treated I hospital emergency departments. NIOSH believes that two out of three injury victims do not go to the emergency room and that the real number of injured workers is about 146,000âor 406 every day.
The National Consumers League issues the 2010 Five Worst Teen jobs to remind teens and their parents to help youth workers to choose their summer jobs wisely. Summer jobs can contribute a lot to a childâs development and maturity and teach new skills and responsibilities but the safety of each job must be a consideration.
Many teens lack the experience and sense of caution needed to protect themselves from workplace jobs. In government speak, âyoung workers have unique and substantial risks for work-related injuriesâŠbecause of their biologic, social, and economic characteristics.â They are reluctant to refuse to do tasks because they are dangerous or to ask for safety information.
We ask parents to be involved in their teenâs job hunting and decision making, helping them to select safe employment. An important first step in the process is for parents and teens to acquaint themselves with the laws that protect working teens. Read what a teen worker can and cannot do at www.youthrules.dol.gov. The site provides information for young workers in each of the fifty states.
Other practical advice for parents:
Before the job search begins, make decisions with your teen about appropriate employment. Set limits on how many hours per week he or she may work. Make sure your child knows you are interested in his or her part-time job.
Check it out
Meet your teenâs supervisor, request a tour of the facilities, and inquire about the companyâs safety record. Ask about safety training, duties, and equipment. Donât assume the job is safe. Every workplace has hazards.
Talk, talk, talk â and listen, too
Ask questions about your teenâs job. Ask teachers to give you a heads-up if grades begin to slip. Frequently ask your teen what she or he did at work and discuss any problems or concerns.
Watch for signs
Is the job taking a toll on your teen emotionally or physically? How is your childâs performance at school? If thereâs a loss of interest in or energy for school or social activities, the job may be too demanding.
Our tips for teen workers follow:
Know the Legal Limits
To protect young workers like you, state and federal laws limit the hours you can work and the kinds of work you can do. For state and federal child labor laws, visit Youth Rules.
Play it Safe
Always follow safety training. Working safely and carefully may slow you down, but ignoring safe work procedures is a fast track to injury. There are hazards in every workplace â recognizing and dealing with them correctly may save your life.
Ask for workplace training â like how to deal with irate customers or how to perform a new task or use a new machine. Tell your supervisor, parent, or other adult if you feel threatened, harassed, or endangered at work.
Make Sure the Job Fits
If you can only work certain days or hours, if you donât want to work alone, or if there are certain tasks you donât want to perform, make sure your employer understands and agrees before you accept the job.
Donât Flirt with Danger
Be aware of your environment at all times. Itâs easy to get careless after a while when your tasks have become predictable and routine. But remember, youâre not indestructible. Injuries often occur when employees are careless or goofing off.
Trust Your Instincts
Following directions and having respect for supervisors are key to building a great work ethic. However, if someone asks you to do something that feels unsafe or makes you uncomfortable, donât do it. Many young workers are injured â or worse â doing work that their boss asked them to do.
One safety expert suggests that if a job requires safety equipment other than a hard hat, goggles, or gloves, itâs not appropriate for minors.
Five Worst Teen Jobs
Many specific jobs pose potential dangers to young workers. The five jobs named on NCLâs list of âfive worst teen jobsâ have proven to be especially dangerous based on anecdotal evidence and federal statistics.
Traveling Youth Crews Performing Door-to-Door Sales
The startling discovery of the remains of a long-missing 18-year-old girl, Jennifer Hammond, in October 2009, served as a painful reminder that traveling door-to-door sales jobs are very dangerous. A Littleton, Colorado native, Hammond, had last been seen six years earlier in a mobile home park in Milton, New York. She failed to show up at a designated pickup spot two hours later. Six years later, a hunter found her remains in a forest in Saratoga County, New York.
Parents should not allow their children to take a traveling sales job. The dangers are too great. Without parental supervision, teens are at too great a risk of being victimized. Traveling sales crew workers are typically asked to go to the doors of strangers and sometimes enter their homesâa very dangerous thing for a young person to do.
Frequent crime reports involving traveling sales crews suggests that the environment they present is not a safe one for teen workers. And with 44 percent of young worker fatalities coming from vehicle accidents, NCL urges teens not to accept any job that involves driving long distances or for long periods of time.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warned consumers in May 2009 that deceptive sales practices are common in door-to-door salesâthe group had received 1,100 complaints in the prior year.Â âExperience tells us that customers arenât the only victims of [these scams],â said Michael Coil, President ofÂ the Better Business bureau of Northern Indiana, âthe young salespeople are also potentially being taken advantage of by their employers and forced to work long hours, endure substandard living conditions and have their wages withheld from them.â
Unfortunately, young sales people are also vulnerable to violence acts by crew leaders. The New York Times reported in October 2009, that âtwo young people working as itinerant magazine salesmenâ in Lakewood, Washington were beaten with baseball bats and golf clubs after they told their bosses they wanted to quit. The victims, whose names and ages were not identified in the article, were hospitalized and their six assailants arrested.
âThe industryâs out of control as far as violence,â Earline Williams, the founder of Parent Watch, one of the groups that follows the industry told the Orlando Sentinel in a December 2009 article that reported the beating of Brian Emery, a sales crew member called âThe Kidâ by his colleagues [Emeryâs age was not reported]. New to traveling sales, Emery, told deputies that his team members gave him $12 to buy beer but became enraged when he bought the wrong brand. Two men were charged with beating Emery, one of whom broke a beer bottle across his face in the incident which took place in Osceola County, Florida.
In May 2008, police in Spokane, Washington investigated a 16-year-oldâs claim that she was held as a captive worker by a door-to-door sales company. She escaped after the sales crew leaders beat up her boyfriend because he wasnât selling enough magazines.
Many youth desperate for work are lured in with promises that they will earn good money, travel the country, and meet fun people selling door-to-door. One young man was told that the experience would be like MTVâs Road Rules.
The reality is often far different. Many salesmen work six days a week and 10 to 14 hours a day. Unscrupulous traveling sales companies charge young workers for expenses like rent and food that requires them to turn over all the money they ostensibly make from selling magazines or goods. When they try to quit or leave the crew, they are told they canât. Disreputable companies have been known to seize young workersâ money, phone cards, and IDs and restrict their ability to call their parents. Drug use and underage drinking are not uncommon. A New York Times report in 2007 found that crew members often make little money after expenses are deducted. On some crews, lowest sellers are forced to fight each other or punished by being made to sleep on the floor.
Few of the magazine sales teams do background checks on their workers, Phil Ellenbecker, told the Orlando Sentinel. Ellenbecker runs an industry watchdog group based in Wisconsin that has tracked about 300 felony crimes and 86 deaths attributed to door-to-door vendors. âItâs not uncommon to get recently released felons knocking on your door trying to sell you magazines,â said Ellenbecker.
One salesman who spent 10 years on crews and eventually became a crew manager told the Indiana Student Daily newspaper, âI regret a lot of stuff I didâŠ.Iâd become this monster. Lying to kids, telling them how good the job was, and it wasnât a good job at all.â
A tough economy has made it tougher to sell magazines and according to Earline Williams of Parent Watch, that has meant more violence on crews and more sales employees abandoned. âItâs gotten meaner,â she told NCL.
Among the possible dangers of working on raveling sales crews:
In addition to the suspected murder of Jennifer Hammond in 2003, other relatively recent murders:
In November 2007, Tracie Anaya Jones, 19, who was a member of a traveling sales crew, was found dead of stab wounds. Originally from Oregon, Jones was last seen working in Little Rock Arkansas before her body was found 150 miles away in Memphis, Tennessee. Her killing remains unsolved and was featured onÂ Americaâs Most Wanted Web site.
In Rapid City, South Dakota in April 2004, a 41-year-old man was charged with murdering a 21-year-old woman who came to his home to sell magazines.
Robbery: Working in unknown neighborhoods poses risks, especially if you are carrying money from sales or goods to sell.
Although not part of a traveling sales crew, a 12-year-old selling candy for a school fundraiser in a Jacksonville, Florida neighborhood in March 2009 was robbed by three individuals who drove up to her in a car.
In April 2003, a 16-year-old Texas youth selling candy was robbed and shot in the stomach by two teens.
In May 2009 in Bethesda, Maryland, a 19-year-old woman selling magazines was attacked and nearly raped by someone she encountered while selling magazines door-to-door.
In Lawton, Oklahoma, A 19-year-old Nevada woman was selling magazines door-to-door in February 2009 when her potential customer invited her in. The man gave her something to drink and she awoke several hours later and realized she had been raped.
A 19-year-old Ohio magazine sales person was assaulted by three men who expressed an interest in buying magazines. The victim was waiting for a pickup by co-workers when she was approached, abducted, and sexually assaulted (April 2003).
Reckless driving: traveling sales crews face greater risk of vehicle accidents and in many cases, crew leaders are driving without licenses or driving on suspended licenses. Vehicles are not always maintained properly and the use of 15-passenger vans in some cases presents safety concerns.
In November 2005, two teenagers were killed and seven were injured when the van they were riding in flipped near Phoenix, Arizona. The vehicle crossed a median strip, and ended up in the opposite lanes of a freeway. All nine occupants, who worked for a magazine subscription company, were thrown from the vehicle.
A month earlier, 20-year-old, James Crawford, was ejected and killed from a van crash in Georgia. Eighteen young adults were crammed into the 15-passenger van. The driver fell asleep and was allegedly driving under the influence of marijuana. The occupants were heading north from Florida to sell magazine subscriptions.
Two young salespersons, age 18 and 19, were ejected from a vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene after a vehicle accident in which 15 salespersons were crammed into a 10-year-old SUV that rolled over on a highway in New Mexico (September 2002).
In 1999, seven individuals travelling as a sales crew were killed in an accident in Janesville, Wisconsin. Five other passengers were injured, including one girl who was paralyzed. The driver of the van, who was trying to elude a police chase, did not have a valid drivers license and attempted to switch places with another driver when the accident occurred. The fatality victims included Malinda Turvey, 18, who has inspired ground-breaking legislationâMalindaâs Actâwhich passed in Wisconsin in April 2009 to regulate traveling sales crews.
The young salesman told NCL about some of the driving dangers, which included unsafe vans and unsafe drivers: âYouâve got drivers that have licenses but theyâre suspended. They shouldnât be driving [and] they let young adults drive under the influence.â
Desertion: young salesmen have been stranded if they try to quit or do not sell enough.
Parent Watchâs founder Williams told the Orlando Sentinel in 2009 that she handles two to six phone calls a day from frightened, stranded workers seeking bus fare home.
In the summer of 2009, the National Consumers League received a call from one stranded salesman, Ricky, who had been left on the side of the road a thousand miles from home with no money to pay for transportation.
Exposure: crews often work in bad weather, walking miles in blazing heat or in cold weather.
Arrest: crews often operate without proper licenses and permits and young sales people are subject to arrest.
Sexual exploitation: young workers, far from home, are at special risk of exploitation from older crew leaders and crew members.
Parent Watch estimates that as many as 30,000 to 40,000 individuals are involved in traveling sales crews, selling magazines, candy, household cleaners, and other items door-to-door each year.
Construction and Height Work
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics fatality records, construction and roofing are two of the ten most dangerous jobs in America. In 2007, an estimated 372,000 workers of all ages were injured in construction accidents and construction led other industries in the number of deaths among all workers: 1,178. A construction worker is nearly three times as likely to die from a work accident as the average American worker.
Young workers are especially at risk given their relative inexperience on work sites and commonplace dangers construction sites often pose. According to NIOSH in 2002, youth 15-17 working in construction had greater than seven times the risk for fatal injury as youth in other industries, and greater than twice the risk of workers aged 25-44 working in construction. In a 2003 release, NIOSH noted that despite only employing 3 percent of youth workers, construction was the third leading cause of death for young workers.
In June 2009, a 9-year-old Alabama boy at a construction site fell through a skylight and was seriously injured. Press reports did not reveal if the boy was actually working, but according to state inspectors his presence at a site at which minors are prohibited from working is considered evidence of employment under the law.
In 2008, five working youths died in fallsâa common cause of death in construction accidents. Among workers 18 and 19, the number of deaths from falls was 11.
Examples of recent construction deaths among teens can be found below:
In January, Danilo Riccardi Jr. was trying to get water from a trench so that he could mix concrete when he fell into the large room-sized hole. A muddy mixture of sand and water soon trapped him like quicksand. By the time rescuers arrived, the boy was dead, submerged under the liquid mixture. It took almost three hours to dig his body out.
A 15-year-old Lawrenceville, Georgia boy, Luis Montoya, performing demolition work, fell down an empty escalator shaft 40 feet to his death. According to a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Labor, minorsâdefined in the state as being 15 years oldâare not allowed to work on construction sites. The company that employed the boy, Demon Demo had been fined by OSHA in 2005 and 2008 because workers did not wear required safety harnesses to prevent falls. The fine in the second violation was reduced from a $4,000 penalty to $2,000. Montoya was not wearing a safety harness when he fell.
Bendelson Ovalle Chavez, a 17-year-old resident of Lynn, Massachusetts, was fixing a church roof in September 2007 when he fell 20 feet to his death. Employed by the company two months earlier, he had received no training or information about how to prevent falls, according to a report by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health.
In July 2007, James Whittemore, 17 died while taking down scaffolding at a construction project in Taunton, Massachusetts. The teen was helping his father remove the scaffolding when a pole he was holding fell against a high-voltage electrical wire and he was electrocuted. The boy died in his fatherâs arms.
That same month, Travis DeSimone, 17, was working on a Marlborough, New Hampshire farm, converting a barn into a kennel when a concrete wall collapsed and killed him.
Roofing, siding, sheet metal work, electrical work, concrete work all pose dangers. Falls, contact with electric current, transportation incidents, and being stuck by objects are among the most common causes of construction accident deaths.
Federal child labor law prohibits construction work for anyone under 16 years of age (although youths 14 and 15 may work in offices for construction firms if they are away from the construction site).
Labor law regarding work at heights has some inconsistencies. Minors 16 years and older may work in heights, as long as it is not on or about a roof. They can work on a ladder, scaffold, in trees, and on structures like towers, silos, and bridges.
Your state may have a higher minimum age.
Outside Helper, Landscaping, Groundskeeping, and Lawn Service
Landscaping and yard work is a frequent entry point into the job market for teenagers. However, the sharp implements and machinery used to do the work present dangers for teens. Often young workers are left unsupervised for long periods of time. The job also requires a great deal of time spent driving in vehicles which, as we have noted, is a dangerous work-related activity.
These incidents highlight the dangers of outside work:
In November 2009 in Poquoson, Virginia, Frank Anthony Gornik, 14, died instantly as he used a shovel to push debris into a wood chipper and the machine grabbed his shovel, pulling him in before he could release his grip. Virginia law prohibits anyone under 18 from using a wood chipper.
A 15-year-old Florida youth died of electrocution while trimming trees. The youth was standing on an aluminum ladder holding a pole saw when it hit a wire. (May 2005)
A 16-year-old Oklahoma youth died when he was struck by lightening while working as a general laborer for a landscaping company. The youth was standing in the bed of a dump truck, where he was manually moving pallets of rocks from the truck to a front-end loader. The youth had worked for the company for three weeks. (July 2004)
A 15-year-old Maryland youth was killed when he fell into a mulch spreading truck. The machine, called a bark blower, churns mulch with a large spinning device called an auger and then disperses it through a hose. The machine had jammed and the teen had gotten on top of the truck to see why the mechanism wasnât working. He had been with the company for a couple of weeks. (May 2004)
Landscaping, groundskeeping, and lawn service workers use hand tools such as shovels, rakes, Â saws, hedge and brush trimmers, and axes, as well as power lawnmowers, chain saws, snow blowers, and power shears. Some use equipment such as tractors and twin-axle vehicles. These jobs often involve working with pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. Rollovers from tractors, ATVs, and movers are a risk. Tree limb cutting and lifting and carrying inappropriately heavy loads are another potential danger; so is handling chemicals, pesticides, and fuel. Contact with underground or overhead electrical cables presents electrocution dangers.
Federal Child Labor Law
Minors who are age 16 and older may be employed in landscaping and operate power mowers, chain saws,Â wood chippers, and trimmers.Â The operation of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or tractors for non-agricultural labor is only prohibited if the equipment is used for transporting passengers, an activity prohibited for minors under age 18.
Farms look safe but they are actually very dangerous workplaces. Agriculture is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous industries in America. In its 2008 edition of Injury Facts, The National Safety Council ranked it as the most dangerous industry with 28.7 deaths per 100,000 adult workers. According to Kansas State University (KSU) in 2007, there were 715 deaths on farms involving workers of all ages. More than 80,000 workers suffered disabling injuries. Working with livestock and farm machinery caused most of the injuries and tractors caused most of the deaths, according to John Slocombe, an extension farm safety specialist at KSU.
Agriculture poses dangers for teens as well. According NIOSH, between 1995 and 2002, an estimated 907 youth died on American farms. Between 1992 and 2000, more than four in 10 work-related fatalities of young workers occurred on farms. Half of the fatalities in agriculture involved youth under age 15. For workers 15 to 17, the risk of fatal injury is four times the risk for young workers in other workplaces, according to U.S. Department of Laborâs Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In 2006, an estimated 5,800 children and adolescents were injured while performing farm work. Every summer young farmworkers are run over or lose limbs to tractors and machinery. Heat stress and pesticides pose grave dangers. Riding in open pickups is another danger on farms.
These recent injuries and fatalities also highlight the danger of agricultural work:
David Yenni, a 13-year-old was killed in a grain load
Iâve been going through a mental checklist of some of the 12-year-olds that Iâve known. The list includes some extremely rambunctious boys and some spirited girlsâmy little sisterâs friends, an old coachâs son, a family friend, girls that I coached at volleyball camp. Itâs these kids that Iâve been thinking back to as Iâve read the recent press thatâs come out regarding child soldiers in Somalia.
The reports are disheartening. Although the United Nations believes the use of child soldiers around the world is falling, an estimated 250,000 children continue to be enslaved as soldiersâin Burma, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. Theyâre not always forced into the fighting by rebel groups either, for in Somalia these kids are on the governmentâs payroll. Children as young as 9-years-old are in the military. Twelve-year olds are manning checkpoints and waving Kalashnikov assault rifles. Somalia is one of âthe most persistent violators of children in armed conflicts,â according to the UN. And whatâs worse is that the US is funding Somaliaâs militaryâsending arms and funds.
This wave of attention has initiated some positive steps though. Although the Somalian government has avowed that all their soldiers are at least 20, it has promised an investigation of the matter. That may mean very little, but the chances that this issue will be addressed are seemingly a lot higher now that the public spotlight is shining glaringly down on the situation. The UN is looking to implement measures against the use of child soldiers. Senator Durbin from Illinois is raising concerns. American officials are being forced to answer some tough questions about where US funding is going. And the State Department just published their annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which highlights the concern of child soldiers in Somalia. Recent stories, covering the challenges facing former child soldiers as they try to reintegrate into their communities, further highlight the need to keep pressing this issue.
With Maoists in Nepal and rebels in the Philippines, the UN has found that publicly calling out groups that violate childrenâs rightsâor ânaming and shamingââis an effective method for bringing about reform. Knowing that this method has worked and can work is encouraging. As I think back to the kids Iâve know, Iâm reminded of why it is so important that we push this issue. No 6th grader or junior high student should be handed a gun and forced onto the front lines. This is just simply something that we cannot afford to let fall off the radar.
Title: A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Government of Uzbekistan should immediately enforce its existing domestic legislation and fulfill its international commitments aimed at ending state-sponsored forced and child labor.
Sponsor: Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] (introduced 4/2/2009) Â Â Â Â Â Cosponsors (2)
Latest Major Action: 4/2/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
Jump to: Summary, Major Actions, All Actions, Titles, Cosponsors, Committees, Related Bill Details, Amendments
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â See also: Related House Committee Documents
Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. (text of measure as introduced: CR S4386)
TITLE(S):Â Â (italics indicate a title for a portion of a bill)
OFFICIAL TITLE AS INTRODUCED:
A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Government of Uzbekistan should immediately enforce its existing domestic legislation and fulfill its international commitments aimed at ending state-sponsored forced and child labor.
COSPONSORS(2), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]:Â Â Â Â Â (Sort: by date)
Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] â 4/2/2009
Sen Sanders, Bernard [VT] â 4/2/2009
Senate Foreign Relations
Referral, In Committee
RELATED BILL DETAILS:
Executive Order 13126
Executive Order 13126 [Text] [PDF] on the âProhibition of Acquisition of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor,â was signed on June 12, 1999. The EO is intended to ensure that federal agencies enforce laws relating to forced or indentured child labor in the procurement process. It requires the Department of Labor, in consultation with the Departments of State and Homeland Security, to publish and maintain a list of products, by country of origin, which the three Departments have a reasonable basis to believe, might have been mined, produced or manufactured by forced or indentured child labor. Under the procurement regulations implementing the Executive Order, federal contractors who supply products on a list published by the Department of Labor must certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured child labor was used to produce the items listed.
On January 18, 2001, the Department of Labor published in the Federal Register the initial EO 13126 List comprised of 11 products from two countries, as well as the Procedural Guidelines for the âMaintenance of the List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured Child Laborâ [Text] [PDF]. Also published in the January 18 Federal Register was the GSAâs Federal Acquisition Regulation Final Rule [Text] [PDF] to implement the Executive Order. On September 11, DOL published a Notice of Initial Determination [Text] [PDF] in the Federal Register announcing a proposed update to the EO 13126 List and officially requesting public comment. All public comments received are available for viewing at www.regulations.gov (reference Docket ID No. DOL-2009-0002).
View the bibliographies for each product listed in the initial determination (PDF)
Final Determination Updating the EO 13126 List
On July 20, 2010 the Department of Labor released a final determination [Text] [PDF] in the Federal Register updating the EO 13126 list in accordance with the âProcedural Guidelines for the Maintenance of the List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured Child Labor.â The final determination sets forth an updated list of products, by country of origin, which the Departments of Labor, State and Homeland Security, believe might have been mined, produced, or manufactured by forced or indentured child labor. The final determination contains a list of 21 countries and 29 products as listed above. Additionally, the final determination provides responses to the most commonly received public comments.
View the bibliographies for each product listed in the final determination (PDF)
Current List of Products and Countries on EO 13126 List
The current list of products was published in the July 20, 2010 Federal Register and includes the following:
View the current list (CSV)
Beans (green, soy, yellow)
Burma, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan
Coca (stimulant plant)
Cote dâIvoire, Nigeria
Benin, Burkina Faso, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Embroidered Textiles (zari)
Argentina, India, Thailand
Gravel (crushed stones)
Burma, India, Mali
Frequently Asked Questions
View questions and answers about the Executive Order 13126 list
On October 15, 2008, the Department of Labor released a notice in the Federal Register [Text] [PDF] requesting information from the public on the use of forced child labor in the production of bricks, coal, foundry products, chemicals, cotton, grape products, toys, and fireworks in China under Executive Order 13126. This request was made pursuant to a public submission accepted on October 1, 2007. The July 20, 2010 final determination [Text] [PDF] published in the Federal Register completes consideration of the submission.
On May 10, 2004, the Department of Labor released a Federal Register Notice [Text] [PDF] notifying the public of its intent to continue monitoring the production of cocoa in Cote dâIvoire, as well as requesting information regarding forced child labor in the cocoa industry in Cote dâIvoire under Executive Order 13126. This request was made pursuant to a public submission accepted on March 20, 2001. The July 20, 2010 final determination [Text] [PDF] published in the Federal Register completes consideration of the submission.
On May 12, 2003, USDOL published a Notice of Final Determination in the Federal Register [Text] [PDF] regarding forced child labor in the firecracker industry in China. The Department conducted a review pursuant to a public submission accepted on June 29, 2001.
Families remember two teens who died in silo accident
July 13, 2010 5:53 PM
BARRY COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) â New details are emerging about a tragic silo accident that killed two teens on Monday night.
17-year-old Franscisco Martinez and 18-year-old Victor Perez were inside the silo at Yankee Springs Dairy when they lost consciousness, they were pronounced dead after being taken out of the silo.
Newschannel 3 spoke with family of the victims on Tuesday.
The families say Frascisco Martinez had worked at the dairy for just a few months, while Victor Perez had been there for about three years.
âAll I can say is I miss my son,â said Victorâs father Jose Perez. âI miss my son, everywhere I look I see him.â
Jose Perez says the last time he spoke to his son was Saturday night.
âI told him, just be careful, be careful with what you do,â said Jose.
Jose says Victor had just graduated from Thornapple Kellogg High School and was working at the farm full-time, he had just purchased a truck that he was going to fix up.
âHe was gonna fix it, he went to school to learn mechanic a little bit, we were gonna take it apart together on the weekend,â said Jose, âbut he didnât make it that far.â
Frascisco Martinez attended high school in Mexico, joining his mother in West Michigan just a few months ago. His grieving mother, Tomasa Martinez, spoke to Newschannel 3 through an interpreter.
âHe was my son, he was very smart, he liked to study, he was happy to work at the farm,â said Tomasa.
The Barry County Sheriff says the teens were found dead inside a small yellow silo that contained a small amount of molasses-like mixture that is used in cow feed. The sheriff says the teens may have been overcome by fumes from the fermenting substance.
A safety officer from Michigan Occupational Health and Safety was on the scene Tuesday. Newschannel 3 has been told the investigation into the teenâs deaths could take weeks, if not months.
You can find more information about silo gas, which could have played a role in Mondayâs deaths, here.
The Childrenâs Act for
The CARE Act, HR 3564, has been endorsed by the following 106 organizations:
Action for Children North Carolina;
Alliance for Justice;
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee;
American Association of University Women;
American Federation of Teachers;
American Rights at Work;
Americaâs Promise Alliance;
Amnesty International USA;
Asian American Justice Center;
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance;
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs;
Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain MillersÂ International Union;
Bon AppĂ©tit Management Company;
California Human Development;
California Institute for Rural Studies;
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation;
Calvert Group Ltd.;
Center for Community Change;
Change to Win;
Child Labor Coalition;
Coalition of Immokalee Workers;
Coalition of Labor Union Women;
Childrenâs Alliance, Washington State;
Communications Workers of America;
Covenant with North Carolinaâs Children;
Dialogue on Diversity;
East Coast Migrant Head Start Project;
El Centro Latino of Western North Carolina;
Farmworker Advocacy Network [North Carolina];
Farm Labor Organizing Committee;
Farmworker Association of Florida;
First Focus Campaign for Children;
Food Chain Workers Alliance;
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network;
General Federation of Womenâs Clubs;
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities;
Human Rights Watch;
Interfaith Worker Justice;
International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers;
International Brotherhood of the Teamsters;
International Initiative to End Child Labor;
International Labor Rights Forum;
Kentucky Youth Advocates;
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement;
Laborersâ International Union of North America;
La Fe Policy Research & Education Center of San Antonio;
Laredo, Texas (City Council)
Latino Advocacy Council of Western North Carolina;
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
League of United Latin American Citizens;
Legal Momentum (formally the Womenâs Legal Defense and Education Fund);
MAFO (The National Partnership of Rural and Farmworker Organizations);
Maine Childrenâs Alliance;
MALDEFâMexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund;
MANA, A National Latina Organization;
Media Voices for Children;
Migrant Clinicianâs Network;
Migrant Legal Action Program;
National Consumers League;
National Education Association;
National Employment Law Project;
National Farmworker Alliance;
National Farm Worker Ministry;
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth;
National Association of Consumer Advocates;
National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education;
National Collaboration for Youth;
National Foster Care Coalition;
National Hispanic Medical Association;
National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association;
National Organization for Women;
National Parent Teacher Association (PTA);
NCLR (National Council of La Raza);
North Carolina Council of Churches;
North Carolina Justice Center;
Oregon Human Development Corporation;
PCUNâPineros y CampesinosÂ del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers)
Pesticide Action Network North America;
Pesticide Education Center;
Pride at Work;
Public Education Network;
Ramsay Merriam Fund;
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights;
Social Advocates for Youth;
Southern Poverty Law Center;
Student Action with Farmworkers;
Swanton Berry Farms;
Teaching and Mentoring Communities [Formerly Texas Migrant Council];
United Methodist Church â General Board of Church and Society;
United States Hispanic Leadership Institute;
United States Student Association;
United Farm Workers of America;
United Food & Commercial Workers International Union;
United Methodist Women;
Vecinos Farmworker Health Program; and
Voices for Ohioâs Children.Â
The New York labor movement, under the leadership of Samuel Gompers, attempts to end child labor in the cigar industry by successfully sponsoring legislation that bans production in tenements, where many of young children work in the trade.
The Democratic Party adopts a plank in their platform, which recommends banning factory employment for children under age 15.
The National Consumersâ League under the leadership of Florence Kelley launches its âwhite labelâ campaign in the womenâs garment industry. The white label certified that goods were produced following minimum fair labor standards and were free of child labor.
Jane Addams founds the Juvenile Protective Association to advocate against racism, child labor, exploitation, child abuse, and child prostitution in Chicago and their effects on child development.
Mother Jones organizes working children in the âChildrenâs Crusade,â a march from Pennsylvania to the home of President Theodore Roosevelt in New York with banners demanding âwe want time to playâ and âwe want to go to school.â Though the President refuses to meet with the marchers, the incident brings the issue of child labor to the forefront of the public agenda.