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Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:36 PM

Department of Labor withdraws child farm labor restriction after misinformation campaign

Department of Labor withdraws child farm labor restriction after misinformation campaign

by Laura Clawson



You'd think that a proposal to protect children from particularly dangerous child labor would be non-controversial. But no. Thursday evening the Department of Labor withdrew a proposed rule to keep kids under 16 from doing dangerous farm labor such as operating heavy machinery, working with pesticides, working with tobacco, and working in grain silos and other dangerous locations. The reason? Although the proposed regulation explicitly exempted kids working on their parents' farms, there was an outcry that it would ... hurt family farms by preventing kids from working on them.

After the Department of Labor clarified that the rule would not apply to kids working on their parents' farms, the opposition went in two directions. Some switched their focus to the alleged concern that kids wouldn't be able to work on uncles' and grandparents' farms and so rural life would still take a hit; others kept the focus on parents. That misinformation campaign included a Facebook post from Sarah Palin claiming, falsely, that "The Obama Administration is working on regulations that would prevent children from working on our own family farms."

In fact, the real issue here is not family farms. Last summer, two 14 year old girls were fatally electrocuted while working in a Monsanto cornfield. Child labor is common on North Carolina tobacco farms, where workers may absorb as much as 36 cigarettes worth of nicotine in a day, have limited access to water and toilets, and are exposed to pesticides.

Many of the people concerned about the proposal to restrict child agricultural labor may have legitimately, if incorrectly, believed that family farming would be threatened. But more than 400,000 kids aged 12 to 17 work on farms in the United States. Most of them are not helping their farm-owner parents or grandparents out; many of them are migrant workers trying to help their families get by, working in the same harsh conditions adults face, and dropping out of school at high rates. There's big money in children working on non-family farms, and that played a major role in the organized, powerful campaign to keep kids in the fields.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/27/1086912/-Department-of-Labor-withdraws-child-farm-labor-restriction-after-misinformation-campaign



Labor Department statement on withdrawal of proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor today issued the following statement regarding the withdrawal of a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations:

"The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations.

"As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations.

"The decision to withdraw this rule including provisions to define the 'parental exemption' was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.

"Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices."

http://www.dol.gov/whd/media/press/whdpressVB3.asp?pressdoc=national/20120426.xml


19 replies, 3022 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Department of Labor withdraws child farm labor restriction after misinformation campaign (Original post)
ProSense Apr 2012 OP
ProSense Apr 2012 #1
Scurrilous Apr 2012 #2
kctim Apr 2012 #3
ProSense Apr 2012 #4
kctim Apr 2012 #6
limpyhobbler Apr 2012 #11
ProSense Apr 2012 #13
limpyhobbler Apr 2012 #5
ProSense Apr 2012 #7
limpyhobbler Apr 2012 #8
ProSense Apr 2012 #9
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #17
alcibiades_mystery Apr 2012 #10
ProSense Apr 2012 #12
lpbk2713 Apr 2012 #14
Bolo Boffin Apr 2012 #15
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #16
Upton Apr 2012 #18
Bigmack Apr 2012 #19

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:57 PM

1. Kick! n/t

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:58 PM

2. Thanks.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:10 PM

3. Good

 

One less ridiculous issue that can be used against President Obama.

He has the election in the bag, stop trying to make it harder with crap like this.

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Response to kctim (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:14 PM

4. Yeah,

One less ridiculous issue that can be used against President Obama.

He has the election in the bag, stop trying to make it harder with crap like this.

...screw regulations! Let's pray the next several months are incident free.



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Response to ProSense (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 03:08 PM

6. Yeah

 

because farm incidents have reached epidemic proportions.

Screw feel-good regulations written by people who don't even know what a tractor looks like.

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Response to kctim (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:46 PM

11. Screw giant agri-business paying little kids $3/hr to pick vegetables.

Take your tractor and shove it up your fat ass.



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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 12:20 AM

13. It's likely

this issue is dead. The RW played the outrage card and people left and right fell for it.

They literally convinced people that the rule was about family farms.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:14 PM

5. Kids shouldn't be allowed to handle tobacco plants. It gets into the blood through the skin.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:38 PM

7. Well,

misinformation won!

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Response to ProSense (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:41 PM

8. Watcha mean? You think the Department of Labor was misinformed about current conditions?

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 08:31 AM

17. I have friends who grew up on tobacco farms

Not ONE of them smokes or chews, and this is the reason why. Handling the plants was so dirty and gross and, literally, sickening.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:45 PM

10. It was sad to see so many DUers falling for this nonsense

People need to smarten up, or they'll dig their own damn graves.

We need a high school class on how to understand POLICY.

Educated people on this board getting all hot and bothered. What an embarrassing display it was.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:51 PM

12. Rule No. 1

Stay away from RW sources.

Still, it's not just here: http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1086912/45881574#c7

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 12:27 AM

14. Straight from the GOP playbook.



"Repeat a line of bullshit often enough and loud enough and
sooner or later it becomes accepted as the truth"


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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 07:46 AM

15. I found a great PDF explaining what the changes would have been.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 08:29 AM

16. This is disappointing

Child labor regulations are a good thing, not a bad thing. Just because the working environment is a farm doesn't mean children should be put in danger.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 09:31 AM

18. Good..

this was a really, really, stupid idea..The Obama administration, indeed the entire Democratic party, already has enough trouble garnering votes in rural communities...

You can blame the backlash on misinformation if you like, but from my understanding, even with the exception, the proposed rule would have still kept kids from even working on a neighbor's farm.

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Response to Upton (Reply #18)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 12:37 PM

19. You WANT kids going into silos..?

You WANT kids operating the neighbor's tractor when they're too young to even get a driver's license? You WANT kids working around 1500 lb cattle in feed lots?

This isn't about "garnering votes in rural communities". This is about safety... kid safety.

Obama and the Labor Department need to show a little leadership and fight for what is right.

Misinformation campaigns should not rule this country. Information campaigns work, too.

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