Iowa communities rally against proposed child labor bills

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Two Iowa bills that focus on changing current child labor laws are sparking debate about child safety.

The Davenport UFCW held a rally to educate and protest two Iowa bills. Senate File 542 and Home file 647.

Both bills contain changes to Iowa’s existing child labor laws and include the following changes:

  • Encouraging youth to participate in ‘job training’ and Iowa’s workforce development benefits 14- to 17-year-olds
  • A 14-year-old teenager can work four to six hours a night
  • 15-year-olds are allowed to work on the assembly line, and 16- and 17-year-olds are allowed to serve alcohol.

“I think it preys on the vulnerable,” said Michael Olivera, political coordinator for Ironworkers Local 111. “I mean people who have money, you don’t want your children working in factories or dangerous places, but people who need money are the most vulnerable people they go after.”

Many of the attendees were adults who wanted to learn more about these laws and understand what the next generation could face if these laws are passed, and for Chloe Shafer, the bills could have a big impact on her job application.

“It’s very unfair that children over the age of 14 are at risk like they were hundreds of years ago,” Shaffer said.

Both bills have currently passed their respective committees and are now headed to the general assembly for consideration.

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