Wellness & Well-being Highlights
Week of December 4, 2023
This week’s edition of our Worker Wellness & Well-being blog consists of topics concerning how people can learn to grow after experiencing trauma (PTG) to the important roles that women play in the workforce to how AI (artificial intelligence) can serve both good and evil in our society. Today, I wish to shed some light on the topic of child labor. Have you ever considered to how our love for sweets—specifically chocolate—might fuel the child labor “industry” in developing countries? Sadly, one does not need to look overseas to find politicians and companies fueling this desire to exploit children…all in the name of cheap labor. Recently, the state of Florida placed into consideration the lowering of the legal age one can be to work on a construction job site. This is a flagrant violation of the federal rules under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) which prohibits 16-year-olds from performing tasks deemed too dangerous…like ROOFING. If one looks closer at the FL proposal (SB460), it does not take too much to uncover the bait-and-switch at hand. Wrapping this legislation in the need to address a worker shortage is nothing short of duplicity…furthermore, it comes at a very high price. One that Frances Perkins confronted over 100 years ago!* To suggest that minors with OSHA 10 certifications perform commercial and residential roofing work, as long as a worker who is 21 or older with two years of experience and the same certification supervises undermines both US-DOL safety and apprenticeship protocols long-established across the USA. Case in point, it takes a skilled roofer ~4 years to complete a registered apprenticeship program. Last I checked, current US child labor laws only allow for exceptions when someone under the age of 18—working in/around dangerous settings—be under CONSTANT supervision of a SKILLED tradesperson. So, once again, I ask: When will those who are trusted with the care of our future STOP putting profits over people?
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