Children have always worked in our country. On farms, in factories, in family-owned businesses, children have worked and continue to do so. However, we know that children face increased risks for injuries and fatalities in many jobs, and that working often means that children are not in school.
In a Minneapolis suburb where a school is under construction, a union boss stops by the non-union work site to check on things.
He saw something surprising: a boy, who appeared to be about 12 or 13, wearing jeans and a fluorescent work vest, smoothing mortar on a brick wall. It was a clear violation of child-labor laws, which prohibit 12 and 13-year-olds from working most jobs, except on farms, and also say that youths aged 14 and 15 may not work in hazardous jobs, including construction.
When others in the Laborers Union went to the site, they saw a boy too, this time driving a bobcat and cutting concrete with a saw. (more…)