8. DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

The Forgotten History of the Child Labor Amendment

The Forgotten History of the Child Labor Amendment
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

The Forgotten History of the Child Labor Amendment  TIME

Child Labor Protections in America Under Threat

Introduction

Child labor protections in America are facing significant challenges at the state level, with some states even reversing the progress made in recent decades. This trend is concerning, as it undermines the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote decent work for all. This report examines the recent rollbacks in child labor protections and highlights the need for stronger enforcement of federal regulations.

State-Level Rollbacks

Several states have passed laws weakening protections for child workers, while others are considering similar measures. In 2022 and 2023, Arkansas, Iowa, New Hampshire, and New Jersey passed laws that undermine child labor protections. Additionally, at least eight other states are currently considering similar legislation. For example, Missouri is considering a bill to loosen restrictions for children aged 14 and 15, while the Alabama Policy Institute is advocating for the undoing of child labor laws as a solution to Alabama’s labor shortage.

Threats to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

These state-level rollbacks pose a threat to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which serves as the foundation for federal child labor protections. To address this issue, there is a growing call for strengthening FLSA enforcement by increasing federal funding for inspectors. This would help ensure that child labor regulations are effectively implemented and enforced across the country.

Historical Context

The history of child labor regulation in the United States reveals the challenges faced by reformers in their efforts to protect children from exploitation. The movement to abolish child labor was met with opposition from big business throughout its history. Despite these obstacles, progress was made with the passage of the FLSA in 1938.

The Need for Stronger Protections

While the FLSA was a significant step forward, it had critical weaknesses that left large segments of child labor unregulated. For example, it exempted children working in agriculture and those working for their parents in certain occupations. These loopholes have shaped the landscape of child labor regulation in the U.S. for generations.

A Call for Action

Given the current threats to child labor protections, there is a need to revisit the Child Labor Amendment, which failed to pass in the past. By amending the U.S. Constitution to empower Congress to regulate the labor of children under the age of 18, a consistent federal standard can be established. This would close loopholes and exceptions, ensuring comprehensive protections for all children across the country.

Potential for Change

There is still a possibility of reviving the Child Labor Amendment, as many states that rejected it in the past may vote differently today. States such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware, and Maryland could reconsider their stance on the proposed amendment. Additionally, states like New York, Rhode Island, and Hawaii, which never took action on the amendment, could also play a role in strengthening child labor protections.

Conclusion

The challenges faced by child labor reformers in the past are still relevant today. By learning from history and taking action to strengthen child labor protections, the U.S. can ensure the well-being and rights of its young population. Empowering Congress to regulate children’s labor through an amended U.S. Constitution would establish a consistent federal standard that prioritizes children’s rights and addresses the current threats posed by business interests. It is time to rectify the shortcomings of the FLSA and create a comprehensive framework for protecting children from exploitation.

About the Author

Dr. Betsy Wood is a historian and author specializing in child labor in America. She has received national attention for her work on this topic and is a professor of American history at Bard Early College in Newark, NJ. Dr. Wood’s expertise sheds light on the historical context of child labor regulation and the need for stronger protections.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

  1. 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.
    • Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group (relevant for measuring progress in eradicating child labor).
  2. SDG 4: Quality Education

    • Target 4.1: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.
    • Indicator 4.1.1: Proportion of children and young people (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex.

Analysis

The article discusses the weakening and reversal of child labor protections in the United States. Based on the content, the following analysis can be made:

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

The issues highlighted in the article are connected to SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 4 (Quality Education).

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

Based on the article’s content, the specific targets that can be identified are:

  • 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.
  • Target 4.1: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.

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

The article mentions one specific indicator that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets:

  • Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group (relevant for measuring progress in eradicating child labor).

Table: 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. Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group (relevant for measuring progress in eradicating child labor).
SDG 4: Quality Education Target 4.1: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. Indicator 4.1.1: Proportion of children and young people (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex.

Copyright: Dive into this article, curated with care by SDG Investors Inc. Our advanced AI technology searches through vast amounts of data to spotlight how we are all moving forward with the Sustainable Development Goals. While we own the rights to this content, we invite you to share it to help spread knowledge and spark action on the SDGs.

Fuente: time.com

 

The Forgotten History of the Child Labor Amendment

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