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The War on Child Labor Laws

Friday, 01 April 2011 04:17 By Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress | Report

Maine State Rep. David Burns is the latest of many Republican lawmakers concerned that employers aren’t allowed to do enough to exploit child workers:

LD 1346 suggests several significant changes to Maine’s child labor law, most notably a 180-day period during which workers under age 20 would earn $5.25 an hour.

The state’s current minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.

Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, is sponsoring the bill, which also would eliminate the maximum number of hours a minor over 16 can work during school days.

Burns’ bill is particularly insidious, because it directly encourages employers to hire children or teenagers instead of adult workers. Because workers under 20 could be paid less than adults under this GOP proposal, minimum wage workers throughout Maine would likely receive a pink slip as their twentieth birthday present so that their boss could replace them with someone younger and cheaper.

And Burns is just one of many prominent Republicans who believe that America’s robust protections against the exploitation of children are wrongheaded:

  • Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s (R) most recent brief attacking the Affordable Care Act relies heavily on a discredited Supreme Court decision striking down a federal child labor law that was overruled decades ago.
  • Judges Roger Vinson and Henry Hudson, the two outlier judges who struck down the ACA, also relied heavily on this discredited anti-child labor decision in their decisions.

Republicans’ contempt for workers is hardly news. GOP governors throughout the country have declared war on collective bargaining, and the national minimum wage remained stagnant for nearly a decade the last time Republicans controlled Congress. Nevertheless, the GOP’s increasingly widespread assaults on child labor laws is a significant escalation from their longstanding war on adult workers.


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The War on Child Labor Laws

Friday, 01 April 2011 04:17 By Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress | Report

Maine State Rep. David Burns is the latest of many Republican lawmakers concerned that employers aren’t allowed to do enough to exploit child workers:

LD 1346 suggests several significant changes to Maine’s child labor law, most notably a 180-day period during which workers under age 20 would earn $5.25 an hour.

The state’s current minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.

Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, is sponsoring the bill, which also would eliminate the maximum number of hours a minor over 16 can work during school days.

Burns’ bill is particularly insidious, because it directly encourages employers to hire children or teenagers instead of adult workers. Because workers under 20 could be paid less than adults under this GOP proposal, minimum wage workers throughout Maine would likely receive a pink slip as their twentieth birthday present so that their boss could replace them with someone younger and cheaper.

And Burns is just one of many prominent Republicans who believe that America’s robust protections against the exploitation of children are wrongheaded:

  • Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s (R) most recent brief attacking the Affordable Care Act relies heavily on a discredited Supreme Court decision striking down a federal child labor law that was overruled decades ago.
  • Judges Roger Vinson and Henry Hudson, the two outlier judges who struck down the ACA, also relied heavily on this discredited anti-child labor decision in their decisions.

Republicans’ contempt for workers is hardly news. GOP governors throughout the country have declared war on collective bargaining, and the national minimum wage remained stagnant for nearly a decade the last time Republicans controlled Congress. Nevertheless, the GOP’s increasingly widespread assaults on child labor laws is a significant escalation from their longstanding war on adult workers.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus