Guest Blog: My background in farmwork

By Luz Vazquez Hernandez, NCL Child Labor Coalition Summer Intern

Coming from a background of farmwork, I know the struggle against heat. At 14 years old, I began picking blueberries in Michigan during the summer, and from there on I learned to pick a variety of crops all over Michigan and my home base in Florida. I spent my weekends and any school days off – including summers – picking strawberries, squash, pickles, peppers, and jalapeños.

I learned to push my body and to handle extreme weather conditions. I suffered pains and aches that my parents felt every day. Complaining to my parents was not an option, and my body adapted.

Working in the fields during intense heat were the worst moments. Covered in layers from head to toe, with pants, a long-sleeve shirt, a hoodie, and a bandana was my daily attire. Covering most of my face, the bandana made it hard for me to breathe in extreme heat; at times, I felt my body, head, and eyes just shutting off. I felt I could not go any longer, but seeing my parents endure the heat and hold it in, I tried to do the same and distract myself from my thoughts.

It was common to see workers faint, as taking breaks in the shade and drinking water were not enough. I witnessed my mom, dad, and brother faint more than twice in 100-plus-degree weather, which always made me scared; somehow, we all managed to continue our 12 to 13-hour shifts because our paycheck depended on how many crops we picked.

We could not afford to take long lunch breaks – we often had a bite or two of lunch and a Gatorade, and then immediately went back into the fields. Before I turned 19, I stopped working as a harvester because I knew that I had greater opportunities than my parents and that farmwork was not the only job I could have.  I have made it a goal of mine to share my story and continue my education so that I can help create the changes that my community needs.

I am now a rising senior at Michigan State University, and I am interning with the National Consumers League (NCL) and the Child Labor Coalition (CLC). I am grateful because I get to work closely on policies affecting my community and interests. However, knowing that I get to work inside an office with air-conditioning makes me feel guilty because I know that my parents and younger siblings are in Michigan picking crops in this summer heat, sweating, thirsty, and hoping for a cloud to bring shade to them.

As a nation, the United States needs to take immediate action to protect farmworkers from extreme heat exposure. As temperatures rise, farmworkers’ suffering is increasing. Farmworkers feed America and deserve protection.

A current legislative effort addressing heat protection is the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act, which sets standards needed to protect workers from heat, such as having drinking water accessible, requiring rest breaks, and providing access to shade. The bill would require employers to educate and train workers to recognize and prevent heat illness and mandate emergency protocols.

In a separate initiative, the Biden administration recently proposed a set of regulations to protect workers in extreme heat. The rules focus on including heat safety regulations at work, and they direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help establish a nationwide protection standard. These two initiatives are vital if we want to protect farmworkers from heat illness.

After years of seeing my parents toil in the fields and working beside them, I feel the need to be an advocate for my community. Interning with the NCL and CLC, I have become acquainted with numerous congressional bills, but the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act is one that would affect me and fellow farmworkers. The work of the National Consumers League and Child Labor Coalition and groups like the National Heat Network, organized by Public Citizen, gives me hope that soon farmworkers and other outdoor workers who work in extreme heat will have safer working conditions.

Child Labor Coalition welcomes the Senate Introduction of the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety Act of 2024 (CARE Act)

March 25, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Reid Maki, reidm@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2820

Washington, DC – With the beginning of Farmworker Awareness Week today, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), representing 37 groups engaged in the fight against domestic and global child labor, applauds Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and for introducing the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE). The legislation, introduced on March 21, would close long-standing loopholes that permit children in agriculture to work for wages when they are only 12 and 13—younger than other teens can work. The bill would also ban jobs on farms labeled “hazardous” by the U.S. Department of Labor if workers are under the age of 18. Current U.S. law allows children to perform hazardous work at age 16.

“With their whole future ahead of them, our country must do better protecting children working in the agriculture industry,” said Senator Luján. “Across the country, thousands of children are working under hazardous conditions in the agriculture sector, risking their health and education. I’m introducing the CARE Act to raise the floor and bring our agricultural labor lines in with other industries to better protect children and improve the working conditions they operate in.”

“It’s amazing to us that discriminatory loopholes, which allow very young kids to work 70- and 80-hours a week, performing back-breaking labor on farms, have been allowed to exist since the 1930s,” said Reid Maki, Director of Child Labor Advocacy for the National Consumers League and the Child Labor Coalition. “The impact of the exemptions on farmworker children educationally is harmful and their health is at significant risk on farms.”

“We’re grateful for Senator Luján’s tremendous leadership on this issue.” said the CLC’s Chair Sally Greenberg, also the CEO of the National Consumers League. “It’s been 22 years since we’ve had a Senate bill that would fix our weak child labor laws that discriminate against farmworker children and leave them unprotected from farm dangers. This day was long overdue. We applaud Senator Lujan for taking action to protect child farmworkers.

“Growing up as a migrant farmworker child, I saw first-hand the detrimental consequences of our inequitable child labor laws,” says Norma Flores López, Chair of the Child Labor Coalition’s Domestic Issues Committee. “Working 70 hours a week, performing back-breaking work did not prepare me for a career in agriculture. Rather, it robbed me of my childhood and my health. Working children must be protected from dangerous work that is not age-appropriate, and the CARE Act provides this critical change in our labor laws.”

In the House, Rep. Raul Ruiz introduced a version of the CARE Act, H.R. 4046, earlier in the congressional session; it has 45 cosponsors.

The Senate bill, which does not have a number yet, has been endorsed by 46 organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the Economic Policy Institute, the UFW, Farmworker Justice, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Farm Medicine Center. The House version has been endorsed by 200 national, regional, and state-based organizations, noted Maki.

“The US will not fix the country’s child labor problem until Congress provides children working in agriculture with the same protections as all other working children. Congress should pass this bill without delay to protect children from dangerous work that harms their health and development,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director, Human Rights Watch.

In addition to raising the minimum age at which children could work in agriculture, CARE would significantly increase minimum fines for employers who violate agricultural child labor laws; the bill would also establish minimum fines for the first time. The legislation would also codify a ban on children applying pesticides and increase data collection and analysis of child farmworker injuries.

The children of farm owners working on their parents’ farms would not be covered by the protections of the CARE Act—this aligns with the wishes of organized farmer groups.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

Growing up in fields

By Child Labor Coalition Intern Jacqueline Aguilar

July 20, 2023

I grew up in a small rural area named Center, Colorado which has a population of about 2,000 people. Growing up my parents were always working in the fields, I remember my father coming home from work, and I would feel how raspy his hands were on my face. I would always ask myself, “Why are his hands so rough?” Eventually, I realized it was because of the hard work he did every day.

In middle school, buying school clothes was difficult for my parents. I started working in the lettuce fields at the age of eleven with many of my friends. We would go in at 5:00 am and get out around 2:00 pm, my parents couldn’t take me to work because they had their own job to get to, so I would have to catch a ride with my supervisor at 4:30am and get home around 3:00 pm.

Walking down those lettuce fields was draining physically, and mentally. It consisted of tired feet walking down the field with my blistered hands holding a bulky hoe and keeping an eye out on the lettuce heads making sure they grew the right way. Most days would start with the fields cold and wet with dew. I was often drenched in mud. By the time the sun rose, it was boiling outside. I would still wear layers of clothes to avoid getting sunburnt and wrap bandanas around my head and neck.

There was no cold water available for us during working hours, or even on our lunch break. We normally worked a 12-hour shift with a 30-minute lunch—typically just cold food or snacks since we didn’t have enough time to go home and make something.

I found the work exhausting, so I started working a food service job. But soon found myself back in the fields when my father got diagnosed with lung cancer. My father had migrated to the U.S. when he was 19 and had been working in the fields ever since. The cancer could have been caused from the fertilizer, dust, and pesticides that he breathed in the fields.

My mother is now disabled with torn ligaments in her shoulder, which can also be from her field work and the movements of sorting the potatoes for so many years.

My parents were unable to provide for me financially and had to move three hours from home for my dad’s cancer treatment, so I worked the potato harvest while attending high school. I juggled a lot of responsibilities during this time, and it was difficult to still be a child with so much on my plate.

I recall one morning it began to snow, we didn’t know any better, so we kept working in the heavy weather. My fingers and feet grew ice-cold as I sorted potatoes, and I wished they would tell us to go home for the day. At that moment, I knew I wanted more for myself.

I am trying to give back to my community. I dedicate two days of my week tutoring ESL students at Center Middle School, where I previously attended. I want to help Spanish-speaking students continue school without the language barrier.

I have also been connected to the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program since youth. For the past three years, I have been the Otero Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Recruiter in the San Luis Valley in Colorado which allows me to promote a good program that benefits farmworker children and parents. I am an active member of the College Assistance Migrant Program at Adams State University where I’ve learned the value of an educational community and the power of coming together to work toward a common goal.

I am now a rising junior at Adams State University working toward a major in sociology with an emphasis in social work and a minor in Spanish. I hope to receive my Master’s degree at Colorado State University-Pueblo to become a medical social worker. I want to stay close to my community to help families that face barriers to medical services—just as mine did when my father had cancer.

My path from strawberry and blueberry fields to college

By Alma Hernandez, NCL Child Labor Coalition Summer 2022 Intern

Alma attends the University of South Florida, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health.

Alma Hernandez (far right) is joined by fellow National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association  farmworker youth interns Jose Velasquez Castellano and Gizela Gaspar. NCL CLC Coordinator Reid Maki is also in the photo.

Imagine being a five-year-old child – happy and carefree. The age where you either attend pre-K or start kindergarten. But can you imagine a five-year-old working in farm fields in hot 90-degree humid weather with her parents? I was that child. I wore a long-sleeved shirt, jeans, closed-toed shoes, and a hat to protect me from the hot sun. At five years old, I was unaware of how difficult agricultural labor is. My mom had enrolled me at the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA), a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program, but she also wanted to teach me to value my education.

My mother’s life lesson started during the weekend after I did not want to wake up for school. My mother remembers that I was full of confidence when asked if I wanted to go to work with her and my father. However, I did not know what was in store for me.

Arriving at the fields around 7:30 am, I first saw endless rows of strawberry fields. I felt enthusiastic. My task: collect as many bright red strawberries as I could and place them in my pink Halloween bucket. After filling my bucket, I would give the strawberries to one of my parents. Around 12, I felt the heat. It was around 90 degrees. The humidity made it feel worse. I felt like I was in 100-degree weather; I did not like that at all and wanted to go home. I was already tired and asked if we could leave. My mom said no; I had to stay until they finished. And so I kept working.

I do not recall what happened the rest of the time I was there, but I remember what happened afterward. I went home and sat on the stairs of the house with a red face, a headache, and clothes covered in dirt, and reflected on the decision I had made to join my parents in the strawberry fields. I went inside. I was so tired that I ignored dinner and skipped a shower and went straight to bed just to wake up the next day, to repeat another day of long, hard work. My parents had me help them one more day; and convinced that my lesson was learned, they let stay home where, in the next few years, I could help take care of younger siblings when my parents could not find childcare.

Although my work in the strawberry fields was short-lived, I have much more experience harvesting blueberries. I started working on blueberry farms when I was 12 years old and worked every summer until I was 16. The blueberry season starts in the summer after school ends in Florida.

My family and I would leave Florida near the end of June and start the 17-hour drive to Michigan. Unlike the strawberry season, I liked picking blueberries because I did not have to bend down low to the ground all day; blueberry plants grow higher. My job was to fill up my six buckets. Once they were all filled, I would carry all the buckets to place them into plastic containers and have them weighed. On average, six buckets would be 42 to 45 pounds, and depending on who we were working for, the average pay was 0.45 to 0.55 cents a pound. I had to pick as many pounds as I could. On good days, I would be able to pick 200 pounds or more; on many other days, I would pick less.

The clothing I wore was also the same: long sleeves, jeans, closed toes shoes, and a hat to protect myself from the sun. The weather in Michigan is not as humid as it is in Florida; usually, it was in the mid-80s to low 90-degrees however it was still hot being there all day. We would go in each morning at 8:30 or later depending on how wet the blueberry plants were and leave the fields around 8 or 9 at night.

I did not like going to a new school in Michigan every September just to leave in late October and return to Florida and start school. The curriculum was very different; I would excel quickly in Michigan since what I was learning I had already studied in Florida. But I also did not like how every time I would go to a new school, I’d be the “new girl,” struggling to make friends but knowing I would soon be migrating. “What is the point?” I would wonder. So I always kept to myself and only spoke when I was spoken to, and to this day I still do.

I also did not like the “what did you do during the summer?” question on the first day of school when I returned to Florida because all I did was work all summer and had no fun. Work caused my parents to miss many school functions that other parents would attend. Sometimes, it felt like a lack of support, but I understood that this type of work was their only way to generate income to provide for the family.

This summer, after four years away, I came back to Michigan with my family for the blueberry harvest one more time. Now that I am 20 and reflecting on my family’s agricultural experience, I appreciate my parents for what they have done for my siblings and me. They wake up early every day, go to work, come home to cook, and still spend a little bit of time with my younger siblings. I help around as much as I can because I know they cannot do everything on their own, especially now that they are getting older. I know they are tired and have no rest days. But thanks to them, I am the first person in my family to go to college and serve as an example to my siblings which proves to them that there is a reason for our parent’s sacrifices.

Child Labor Coalition welcomes the reintroduction of the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety 2022 (CARE Act)

March 31, 2022

Media contact: National Consumers League –  Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, D.C.—The Child Labor Coalition (CLC), representing 38 groups engaged in the fight against domestic and global child labor, applauds Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) for introducing the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE). The legislation, introduced on Cesar Chavez Day, would close long-standing loopholes that permit children in agriculture to work for wages when they are only age 12. The bill would also ban jobs on farms labeled “hazardous” by the U.S. Department of Labor if workers are under the age of 18. The children of farm owners, working on their parents’ farms, would not be impacted by the CARE Act.

“Today, I am re-introducing the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE Act) with my friend and co-lead Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva to protect the rights, safety, and future of [children who work on farms],” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, Thursday.

“I’m proud to co-lead this important legislation with Rep. Roybal-Allard to protect the children of farmworkers. Farmworkers remain some of the most exploited, underpaid, and unprotected laborers in our nation. They and their children deserve legal protections, better working conditions, and higher workplace standards to protect their health and safety. It’s past time we updated our antiquated labor laws to give children working in agriculture the same protections and rights provided to all kids in the workforce,” said Rep. Grijalva.

“Children working for wages on farms are exposed to many hazards—farm machinery, heat stroke, and pesticides among them—and they perform back-breaking labor that no child should have to experience,” said CLC co-chair Sally Greenberg, the executive director of the National Consumers League, a consumer advocacy organization that has worked to eliminate abusive child labor since its founding in 1899. “Current child labor law discriminates against children who toil in agriculture. It’s time these dangerous exemptions end. We applaud Rep. Roybal-Allard and Rep. Grijalva’s leadership in re-introducing CARE.”

“Ending exploitive child labor on American farms is long overdue and this legislation will result in healthier, better educated farmworker children and help end the generational poverty that afflicts many farmworker families,” said Reid Maki,Coordinator, Child Labor Coalition and Director of Child Labor Advocacy, National Consumers League. The CARE Act has been endorsed by 200 national, regional, and state-based organizations, noted Maki.

“Children as young as 12 are being hired to do backbreaking work on US farms, at risk of serious injuries, heat stroke, pesticide poisoning, and even death,” said Margaret Wurth, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, a CLC member. “Existing US child labor laws are woefully out of date and put child farmworkers at unacceptable risk,” Wurth said. “Congress should act swiftly to adopt the CARE Act and ensure that all children are protected equally.”

The CLC’s strategy for child labor on U.S. farms is guided by its Domestic Issues Committee Chair Norma Flores López who worked in the fields as a young girl. “Decades ago, my family and I were crowding into the back of a pickup truck with our few belongings, and starting our two-day journey towards the fields of Indiana, Michigan, or Iowa. What awaited me, starting at the age of 12, were long hours of back-breaking work earning low wages. I was one of the faces you see in photographs from the fields, hidden behind a bandana.  Fast forward more than 25 years, and we are still fighting for young girls –and boys — who are enduring exploitation, harvesting the fruits and vegetables we eat. The same reality that I once lived awaits the approximately 300,000 children who work on American farms today,” said Flores López, who also serves as Chief Programs Officer of Justice for Migrant Women and was the 2021 recipient of the U.S. Department of Labor Iqbal Masih Award.

“For too long, children laboring in U.S. agriculture have been denied the protections they deserve to ensure their health and well-being. Too often, kids working on commercial farms are subjected to dangerous, unhealthy, work that’s detrimental to their education and far too often results in harm or even death. The CARE Act would address this problem and give children working on farms the same protections as children working in other industries,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization.

In addition to raising the minimum age at which children could work in agriculture, CARE would increase minimum fines for employers who violate agricultural child labor laws when those violations lead to serious injury, illness, or death of minors. The legislation would also strengthen regulations that protect minors from pesticide exposure and improve analysis of child labor health impacts.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL) 

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.

Why won’t New York’s governor Cuomo ban a nasty pesticide that harms children?

Reid Maki is the director of child labor advocacy at the National Consumers League and he coordinates the Child Labor Coalition.

Something really curious is happening in New York State. In June, the New York Assembly passed a bill to ban the nasty pesticide chlorpyrifos, which damages the development of children. But that’s not the weird part.

What’s surprising is that Governor Andrew Cuomo has not signed the bill, despite the fact that the NY Attorney General Letitia James joined five other attorneys general in suing the Trump Administration’s federal Environmental Protection Agency because it overturned an Obama Administration ban on the pesticide.

“Chlorpyrifos is extremely dangerous, especially to the health of our children,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Yet, the Trump Administration continues to ignore both the science and law, by allowing this toxic pesticide to contaminate food at unsafe levels. If the Trump EPA won’t do its job and protect the health and safety of New Yorkers, my office will take them to court and force them to fulfill their responsibilities.”

The other states that joined the suit are Washington, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts, and California—the latter is the country’s largest agricultural producer (measured by cash receipts) and has decided to remove chlorpyrifos from the market in 2020. 

Studies have also linked chlorpyrifos to autism, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention deficit disorders, and delayed motor development.

Nationally, home use was banned in 2001 because of its impact on children’s developing brains. In 2018, Hawaii became the first state to enact a complete ban on its use, which includes farms.

Chlorpyrifos is also thought to damage male reproductive organs to the point that it can make men sterile.

Since food safety authorities determined that there was no safe exposure level to chlorpyrifos—that any trace of the pesticide was too dangerous—the European Union is expected to ban entry of food products contaminated with the pesticide next year.

In August, the National Consumers League (NCL) and the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), which NCL co-chairs, joined 80+ groups—including many from New York—on a letter, urging Governor Cuomo to sign the chlorpyrifos ban. We were naïve enough to think he would.

With an avalanche of data suggesting it is too dangerous to use and his own attorney general suing over its use, why has Cuomo seemingly decided not to ban the pesticide? We can only guess. In July, the governor signed landmark legislation to protect farmworkers from labor abuses, ensure equitable housing and working conditions, and grant them collective bargaining, overtime pay, unemployment compensation and other benefits.

Farmworkers are some of the most exploited workers in America, and we applaud the governor for doing the right thing, but he seems to be taking the position that—having done something farm owners didn’t like—he shouldn’t sign the chlorpyrifos ban because they won’t like that either. The farmers see the pesticide as an effective tool to help them grow crops.

The problem is that chlorpyrifos doesn’t just harm those who eat farm produce; It harms the very people that produce crops—the farmers and the farmworkers and the children of both.

Should giving farmworker labor rights mean that it’s okay to endanger their fertility and cause their children to suffer developmental delays or autism? And from the farmers’ perspective, shouldn’t their children be protected from those afflictions? The governor shouldn’t be striving to protect some of the people some of the time, but should protect all of the people all of the time.

What has happened to nurturing and protecting children?

Reid Maki is the director of child labor advocacy at the National Consumers League and he coordinates the Child Labor Coalition.

The Child Labor Coalition is a non-partisan group that is concerned with the health and welfare of children in the U.S. and abroad. We were extremely critical of the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw proposed safety protections for children who work in agriculture—known as “hazardous occupations orders.”

We try to call it as we see it and ignore politics. We love any politician who puts children first. But today, we are stunned by the numerous attacks on children by the Trump administration and left wondering what horror is next? 

Earlier this month, Customs and Border Patrol announced that it would stop education classes, legal aid, and even recreational activities for children at the border detention facilities housing immigrant children. Detained children have already been traumatized by their arduous journey to the U.S., their subsequent detention, and, in many cases, forced family separation. What Grinch would deny them schooling and playtime?

Institutionalization and family separation constitute traumatic experiences that threaten the physical and mental health of children. The New York Times reported on February 27th that the federal government had received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse of children in immigration facilities over four years, including an increase since the Trump administration began separating families. Shouldn’t we focus our energies on reuniting families and easing the psychological damage that has already been done—not penalizing children even further?

The decision to withhold education and recreation was just the latest salvo in what increasingly seems like a war against children by the Trump administration. We recently learned that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had decided to defund children’s health research centers around the U.S. For decades, the centers have brought together researchers and children’s health experts to reduce environmental health risks that children face.

The research centers helped expose the danger of the pesticide chlorpyrifos which damages the development of children’s brains and poses grave health risks to child farmworkers, adult farmworkers, and farmers. EPA had decided to ban the toxic pesticide under the Obama administration, but then reversed the ban under the Trump presidency.

The Trump administration also attempted to reverse an Obama administration ban on children applying pesticides as part of their job on farms. Does our agricultural economy need children to apply pesticides? No. Fortunately, after several months of pursuing the idea, the Trump administration seems to have given up—only to move on to the latest perverse idea.

Recently, the EPA and the Office of Management and Budget officials announced plans to change regulations concerning “agricultural exclusion zones” (AEZs). Under current rules, if a plane or aerator sprays pesticides on a field it must be at least 100 feet from workers in the fields; other applicators must be at least 25 feet from workers. Although not spelled out, everyone is assuming the changes will weaken or eliminate the AEZs–because the Trump administration never acts to increase protections for vulnerable populations.

Some of those field workers who are exposed to spray drift are children toiling with their migrant parents; we also know that the developing bodies of minors are more vulnerable to toxic pesticides than adults. Weakening agricultural exclusion zones will mean more child and adult farmworkers are poisoned by pesticides.

Globally, we’ve made significant progress in the fight against child labor. In the last two decades, the number of children trapped in child labor has fallen to 152 million—a reduction of about 100 million children from two decades ago. This is real progress and the U.S. Department of Labor’s International Labor Affairs Bureau has played a role in that reduction—by gathering incredibly detailed reports on the nature of the problem, advising nation’s on how to reduce child labor and by operating child labor reduction programs around the world.  At $50 to $55 million a year, we think these child labor programs are a great buy.

Unfortunately, the administration has tried to zero out these vital child labor programs since Trump took office.

Bad ideas about child work continue to percolate within the Trump administration, which wants to allow American teens who work in nursing homes to be allowed to operate mechanized patient lifts without assistance and supervision from adults, which current rules require. Safety experts know that this change would lead to severe injuries to patients and teen workers. As is generally the case, the administration presents no compelling rationale for the change.

We are left wondering what new outrage awaits. Does the health and safety of children mean anything to this administration?