Child Labor Laws

IntroductionIn the United States there are up to 1.5 million children from the ages of five to fifteen work in harsh conditions in the United States’ agriculture industry. Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations for workers in the United States1. These children sometimes worked twelve-hour days, they would do hard and tough physical labor, and these children would risk heat illness, exposure to pesticides, serious injuries, and permanent disabilities. Working in these conditions would their life expectancy to only about forty-nine years of age. “Forty-five percent of these children drop out of school and are sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor in the fields1”.

The current law allows “sweatshop working conditions by excluding children in agriculture from the minimum age and maximum-hour requirements Congress has enacted to protect children in general”1. Often children in the agriculture industry are not doing chores on the family farm. They are working in an industry ruled by huge businesses that hire them as cheap laborers. To say that shows that there are few laws in the United States to protect children working in agriculture. Former President William Clinton tried to raise hopes by which the United States would change the policies that allow children to work in the hazardous conditions of the agriculture industry. History

There were many forms of child labor such as indentured servitude and child slavery that have existed throughout American history. As industrialization in the U.S. began workers moved from farms and small towns, into cities areas for work. They came to factory work children were preferred because factory owners seem them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. With growing pressure to end child labor in the North that caused many factories to move to the South. By 1900, states had different opinions in whether they had child labor standards and in their content and degree of enforcement.

At that time, “American children worked in large numbers in mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, home industries, and as newsboys, messengers, bootblacks, and peddlers4”. “In the early twentieth century, the numbers of child laborers in the U.S. peaked.

Child labor began to decline as the labor and reform movements grew and labor standards in general began improving, increasing the political power of working people and other social reformers to demand legislation regulating child labor.4” Unions began organizing and child labor reforms were often intertwined, and Idea were conducted by organizations led by working women and middle class consumers, such as state “Consumers’ Leagues and Working Women’s Societies4”.

These organizations formed the National Consumers’ League in 1899 and the National Child Labor Committee in 1904, which shared goals of labor, including anti-sweatshop campaigns and labeling programs. The National Child Labor Committee’s work to end child labor was combined with efforts to provide free, education for all children, and in the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, which set up federal standards for child labor in the United States.4 “Although providing a framework for regulation of child labor the FLSA is not comprehensive2.” The regulations do not deal with all employment of children in the same way.

Meaning work done by young people under 18 years of age in mines and factories is not allowed. “What other types of work may be suitable (or especially hazardous) for persons under 18 years of age has been left to the discretion of the Secretary of Labor.2” Some types of work for example, that people under 18 can do is some newspaper sales and delivery, as long as their employment falls in the scope of FLSA child labor requirements.

Finally, there has been distinction made between employment in nonagricultural fields and in agriculture and between work for a parent or guardian in an agricultural setting and commercial employment. In the 108th Congress, a range of child labor legislation was introduced; but, With the exception of legislation legalizing child labor in certain “More than two centuries later, the globalization of economic activity makes far more efficient use of children, putting them to work to manufacture products or cultivate crops as cheaply as possible.4” This arrangement takes over poor children for the economic benefit wealthy people in the world. Where cheap clothes a shoes seem like nothing not knowing who is making the clothes.

“It is an irony that might well have intrigued Swift that one of the major causes of exploitative child labor, the multi-national corporation (MNC), may well provide a partial solution to the problem”4. Under the circumstances that in which the processes and institutions of international law have failed and are likely to continue failing to control child labor.

Many corporations have codes of conduct which are, statements of rules regulating labor that “MNCs voluntarily and unilaterally adopt, announce, publicize, and, with varying degrees of effectiveness”4, these are pit in order to avoid bad publicity for their company and products. They not only hold promises for reducing child labor, but they have already proven useful in achieving that goal.4 In the United States child labor laws, laws for leaving school, and related legislation protected which in recently time has begun to dim. It is known and assumed that these laws were a result from the agitation of well-intentioned reformers who wanted to protect children from abuses of employers and parents and from peoples all knowing ignorance.

‘While the historical background to this legislation and the reinforcing social attitudes are important to the understanding of current policies, the historical motivation or intent should not prevent their periodic reevaluation”5. It is best to say that from the information in this study is not aimed at children at all, but it is aimed at the impact of child labor laws on teenagers, mainly in regards to labor market options. The current picture age of a teenager is under eighteen someone whose major occupation is a student. There are many teens under the age of eighteen looking for work and that are will to work anywhere just to make some money.

There is clearly his is not a perception that would have been popular one hundred years or more ago. Even the ideas of teenager as someone “between childhood and adulthood might have seemed somewhat peculiar then”5. Most teenagers of high school age, one hundred years ago, would not have been enrolled in high school; only about 2% of the high school-age of teen population completed high school.

Those teenagers would have been doing some sort of hard work activities. “One hundred years ago, almost half of the workforce was engaged in agriculture, and, indeed, much “child labor” occurred on family farms with the parents as employer.5″ Child labor problems in agriculture are totally different from those in the city setting. The study was not intended to compare to the agriculture sector.

They study shows that today labor involves only about 4% of the employed civilian labor force. Agricultural employment still favors a huge amount “seasonal migrant-labor workforce with the attendant problems of inadequate educational opportunities for children of the migrant workers.5” As you notice that agricultural considerations are not so influential on laws affecting urban areas. When child labor first became a problem in the U.S., there was a tendency to portray the working child on the family farm. These labor issues were r not clearly recognized and since it was done without pay for parents the government saw no reason to step in. They also saw their work as healthy and some form of play in the countryside.

“Moreover, as a further reflection of this view as well as of the political strength of the farming interests, most child labor statutes are less strictly applied in agriculture than in other sectors of the economy.5” When questioning the U.S. unemployment statistics is nothing new to labor economists. Current definitions for why children would be working include unemployed which are those “who are actively seeking work or who have been laid off”5. Other ways to look at these issues is though court cases. There was a Plaintiff, Malians who alleged that she was forced to labor on cocoa fields in Cote d’Ivoire. She was stating that she was treated unfairly and work too much under the international laws of labor. The manufacturers of this case filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. There were not enough facts to prove the case.

The court granted the manufacturers’ motion to dismiss with leave to amend6.In another case the court again went to the issue of parental rights in Prince v. Massachusetts, supra, when a woman took her niece to sell religious literature on the streets of Boston. This case talking about women who had custody of niece but still made the child work at a young age. The woman was convicted for violating a child labor law. “Prince, 321 U.S. at 160-61.7” At the end of this Court they concluded that the state’s interest in prohibiting child labor beat the custodial rights on the women.

They did caution that it’s a “ruling not to extend beyond the facts the case presented.7. | There was a question presented in a journal article I read. “Can labor rights advocates use an old law to protect young workers? 8” The answer was that “Alien Tort Statute (ATS) was passed by Congress as part of the Judiciary Act of 1789 to ease international trade tensions”8. That article explains who ATS began and explains its viability.

Now over 200 years later this statute still address international child labor rights violations. Over the last three decades, human rights advocates have used the ATS as bulls eye to bring attention to international human rights abuses and find solutions for alien tort victims. “A number of scholars have written about enforcing internationally-recognized labor rights through the ATS”8. In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court looked to the ATS for the first time in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain case.

After Sosa case, claims brought to the ATS must implicate the norms that are universally accepted, and must specific, and concrete. The Sosa Court’s discussion of how viable “ATS claims limits the potential claims labor rights advocates may pursue in court.8” Moreover, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) recently shifted its focus to the cement international agreement on “core rights and condemnation of the worst forms” of child labor in past years. Many bolsters take the claim of universal agreement on the basis labor rights.

Scholars debate the effectiveness of narrowing international labor rights to a few “core” rights,8 but the recent agreements establish sufficient international support of a cause of action under ATS for the worst forms of child labor.8 Now that there are powerful nation that enforces actions for child labor violations, people must think about what international efforts are effective to support and improve children’s lives.

The dynamics of the world’s marketplace and the inherent limitations of a universal rights strategy, human rights advocates should use ATS as one part of the fight to end international child labor abuses. In conclusion, as I read through the articles I found, I realized child labor was a really big issue bad in the earlier centuries. In our new global market child labor issues are not limited to one nation.

That is why the International Labour Organization and the Alien Tort Statute were passed and form. We as a global nation need to protect our children. As our economy gets bigger we will find that the aspect of our kids work may happen. There are ways that we American can protect against child labor. Unions groups are increasingly seeing the connections between worker rights and the fight against child labor. When recognizing child labor as a violation of children’s and workers’ rights, trade unions join together with families and community organizations to fight child labor and them the move children out of work and into school standards.

History should us that good unions are important protecting against child labor. Especially when parents are not able to improve living conditions for their children. There are many companies and unions in the U.S. and other countries that are supporting efforts to end child labor by making alliances with unions in other countries.

These alliances work to get enforceable global labor standards, such as “ILO Convention 182, and hold transnational companies accountable for labor practices”4. Some of the thing there countries are doing to stop child labor are, when the 2000 Olympics were held in Sydney, Australia, the “Australian labor federations created and signed an agreement with the Olympic organizing committee requiring all sponsors and licensees to adhere to minimum labor standards, including international conventions on child labor”4. The pressure from human rights activist, consumers, and international trade unions led the group overseeing the World Cup FIFA—Federation International de Football Association which adopted a Code in 1998 stating it would cease using soccer balls made with child labor4.

That year, when reports said that children were still working in the soccer ball industry and that adult workers were not even being paid a living wage4, many activists launched a new publicity and letter-writing campaign, they were mobilizing soccer fans from all over, consumers, and politicians to demand FIFA improve factory monitoring and live up to the promises in its Code4. They activist wanted to see change in the factory or they would continue protesting and they would find some way to help the children in the factories.

|End Notes1. Corlett, Celeste. “Impact of the 2000 Child Labor Treaty on United States Child Laborers.” 19.2 (2002): 1-27. 2. Moskowitz, Seymour. “SAVE THE CHILDREN: THE LEGAL ABANDONMENT OF AMERICAN YOUTH IN THE WORKPLACE.” 43.107 (2010). Copyright (c) 2010 Akron Law Review. 3. “Child Labor in U.S. History – The Child Labor Education Project.” Division of Continuing Education – The University of Iowa. Web. 12 Apr. 2011. <>. 4. Jonassen, Frederick B. “A Baby-Step to Global Labor Reform: Corporate Codes of Conduct and the Child.” Corporate Codes of Conduct and the Child 2008. Print. 5. Mitchell, Daniel J. B., and John Clapp. “CHILD LABOR OR YOUTH EMPLOYMENT?” Copyright (c) 1980 Comparative Labor Law &

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