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GOPers attack US child labor laws as violations surge

Washington, Feb 13 (Prensa Latina) As child labor law violations have been on the rise in the United States, some state legislators are pushing for changes at state and federal levels to roll back protections in what some see as a threat to return child labor to the country.

In Iowa, for example, Republican legislators introduced a bill in January to expand the types of job 14- and 15-year-olds would be permitted to do as part of approved training programs, extend allowable work hours, and exempt employers from liability whether these young workers are sickened, injured or killed on the job.

The laws aim to expand permissible work hours, broaden the types of jobs young workers are permitted to do, and shield employers from liability for injuries, illnesses or workplace fatalities involving very young workers.

“It’s just crazy to me that we are re-litigating a lot of things that seem to have been settled 100, 120 or 140 years ago,” said Charlie Wishman, president of the Iowa AFL-CIO, which is opposing the bill.

Similar efforts, however, have been recently seen in other states including Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin to extend work hours for 14- and 15-year-olds.

Child labor law violations have increased in the US, with a 37% rise in fiscal year 2022, including 688 children working in hazardous conditions, with the number likely much higher as the recorded violations stem from what was found during labor inspections.

The Department of Labor issued a press release in July 2022 noting child labor violations and investigations have increased since 2015.

Several high-profile investigations involving child labor have been exposed over the past year, including the use of child labor in Hyundai and Kia supply chains in Alabama, at JBS meatpacking plants in Nebraska and Minnesota, and at fast-food chains including McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts and Chipotle.

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