8. DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

‘Stain on our nation’: Child labour violations on the increase in America’s meat snacks sector

‘Stain on our nation’: Child labour violations on the increase in America’s meat snacks sector
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

‘Stain on our nation’: Child labour violations on the increase in …  BakeryAndSnacks.com

Child Labour Violations in the US Food Industry

With the labour market stretched thin – while businesses returned to full steam after the pandemic, many workers did not – and rebuilding hit with the double whammy of inflation, employers are going to the cheapest and easiest avenue to find workers.

The practice of hiring children under a certain age was placed under strict limits way back in 1938, however, breaking those rules is rife – and increasing – in the US, particularly by players in the food industry.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  1. Goal 1: No Poverty
  2. Goal 4: Quality Education
  3. Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  4. Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

In February, the DoL reported a sharp rise in child labour violations across all industries since 2018.

The DoL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) – which is tasked to enforce federal child labour laws – recorded a 37% increase in the number of minors employed in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 2022 alone. Almost 4,000 minors were illegally employed that year, of which, only 835 are on record.

‘Stain on our nation’: Child labour violations on the increase in America’s meat snacks sector

Source: US Department of Labor

Are you violating US child labour laws?

  • The UN’s International Labour Organization defines child labour as work that is mentally or physically dangerous for children and interferes with their schooling.
  • In the US, companies are prohibited from hiring children younger than 14, but 14- and 15-year olds can work three hours a day on schooldays, although they can’t legally work during school hours or take early morning or night shifts.
  • Children under the age of 18 are barred from operating a range of hazardous machinery, like band saws and meat choppers.

Like lambs to the slaughter

More than 75% of the recent violations were committed by employers with one thing in common: they grow, package, deliver, cook, sell and serve the nation’s food.

Earlier this year, WHD investigation data revealed more than 12,000 of the child labour violations to be committed by the food sector – versus 16,000 across all industries – between 2018 and 2022.

The WHD data found children involved in every step of the food supply chain, working illegally from farm to table.

Foodservice operators, ostensibly, are by far the worst offenders, with culprits ranging from pizza chains to high-end restaurants, along with fast food chains (McDonald’s franchises allegedly committed 8.7% of the violations).

The practice is equally rife in the retail and agriculture channels, the latter routinely hiring migrant child workers to work for 10 or more hours a day, 5-7 days a week, according to the Food Environment Reporting Network (FERN).

Like lambs to the slaughter, underaged teens are being enticed into operating heavy machinery (buzz saws, head splitters, brisket saws), working with hazardous chemics and for long hours by the meat processing sector.

Earlier this year, 102 children – ranging between 13 to 17 years – were discovered to be illegally employed by Wisconsin-based Packers Sanitation Services Inc (PSSI), one of the country’s largest slaughterhouse service providers for majors like Cargill, Tyson Foods and Maple Leaf Farms, among others. Several child workers suffered chemical burns on the job and PSSI was fined $1.5m in civil money penalties.

Now, yet another meat snacks provider has been caught using children in dangerous labour roles.

The DoL has discovered at least 11 children employed by Monogram Meat Snacks to operate hazardous machinery at its meatpacking and food processing facility in Chandler, Minnesota.

The consequences for the Memphis-headquartered company are far reaching.

The Tennessee producer has been slapped with a six-figure fine, but perhaps more devastating is the prohibition on shipping its beef jerky and other products to market. How long that shipping ban will last is yet to be revealed.

Monogram agreed to pay $140+K in civil money penalties as part of the investigation by the DoL’s WHD – which began in March 2023 and found five x 17-year-olds, four x 16-year-olds and two x 15-year-olds working at the Chandler facility.

The company has also been instructed to take specific steps to ensure compliance of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including the hiring of a third-party

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms. – Number of child labor violations recorded by the DoL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
– Number of minors employed in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
– Number of children involved in the food sector’s child labor violations
SDG 4: Quality Education Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship. – Interference with children’s schooling due to child labor
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production Target 12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities. – Compliance of companies in the food industry with child labor laws

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

The issue of child labor violations in the US, particularly in the food industry, is connected to SDG 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

SDG 4: Quality Education

The article mentions that child labor interferes with children’s schooling, highlighting the connection to SDG 4, which focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

The article discusses the need for companies in the food industry to comply with child labor laws, aligning with SDG 12, which aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.

The article highlights the increase in child labor violations in the US, indicating a need to take immediate measures to eradicate child labor and achieve Target 8.7.

Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship.

The interference with children’s schooling due to child labor emphasizes the importance of achieving Target 4.4 by ensuring that youth have the necessary skills for decent employment.

Target 12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities.

The article mentions the need for companies in the food industry to comply with child labor laws, indicating the importance of promoting sustainable procurement practices to achieve Target 12.7.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

The article provides several indicators that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets:

– Number of child labor violations recorded by the DoL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD): This indicator reflects the extent of child labor violations and can be used to assess progress in eradicating child labor.

– Number of minors employed in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act: This indicator specifically measures the number of minors employed illegally, providing insights into the prevalence of child labor.

– Number of children involved in the food sector’s child labor violations: This indicator highlights the specific issue of child labor in the food industry, helping to assess progress in addressing this problem.

– Interference with children’s schooling due to child labor: This indicator reflects the impact of child labor on education and can be used to monitor progress in ensuring quality education for all.

– Compliance of companies in the food industry with child labor laws: This indicator measures the extent to which companies in the food industry adhere to child labor laws, indicating progress in promoting responsible consumption and production.

4. SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms. – Number of child labor violations recorded by the DoL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
– Number of minors employed in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
– Number of children involved in the food sector’s child labor violations
SDG 4: Quality Education Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship. – Interference with children’s schooling due to child labor
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production Target 12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities. – Compliance of companies in the food industry with child labor laws

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: bakeryandsnacks.com

 

US Department of Labor announces 2024 Iqbal Masih Award winners; recipients in Egypt, Ghana lauded for contributions to end child labor

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