Greedy corporations are behind the push to roll back child labor laws. Become a grassroots supporter of the “Stop Child Labor Act” to end child labor.

Earlier this month, federal agents raided a poultry plant in Kidron, Ohio and found over two dozen minor children illegally employed in meat sanitation and processing.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from working in hazardous occupations -- such as meatpacking plants and other industrialized industries -- but over the past few years there has been a movement in states with right-wing leadership to severely weaken existing child labor laws.

Data released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) revealed that child labor violations skyrocketed in the U.S. during the 2022-2023 fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2023. There were 5,792 minors working in violation of child labor laws -- an increase of 88% from 2019.

Due to the weak fines posed by the FLSA, unscrupulous corporations find it financially easier to skirt laws and pay the fine. Now new legislation introduced in the Senate seeks to change that. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Todd Young (R-IN) are sponsoring the Stop Child Labor Act, which would:

  • Increase child labor violation civil penalties to:

    • $5,000 minimum – $132,270 maximum for routine violations;

    • $25,000 minimum – $601,150 maximum for each violation that causes the death or serious injury of a minor;

  • Create criminal penalties for a repeat or willful violation of child labor laws to include a fine of up to $50,000 and a year in jail;

  • Allow children harmed by violations of the law to seek compensation;

  • Start a grant program aimed at helping employers recognize, avoid, and prevent child labor violations; and

  • Permanently establish a National Advisory Committee on Child Labor.

The exploitation of children harkens back to an era without basic safety regulations or protocols for workers -- or for children. And it’s overwhelmingly children of color and children in low-wage earning families who will bear the brunt of these regressive laws that don’t just put children in danger; they exacerbate racial and income inequality too.

Already in 2023, lawmakers in at least 13 states have introduced measures to loosen child labor laws and allow children as young as 16 to work in factories under hazardous conditions.

Children deserve a childhood. The Stop Child Labor Act is critical in fighting back against greedy corporate interests that want to exploit children instead of raising wages and increasing benefits for adult workers.

Help us build support by signing on as a grassroots co-sponsor of the Stop Child Labor Act now.