New Ad In Maine Fights Conservatives’ Attempts To Rollback Child Labor Protections
It’s hard to believe we need to discuss seriously the pros and cons of child labor laws in 2011, but then who thought we’d need to lecture Maine Governor Paul LePage about dismantling a perfectly good labor mural?
[Rep. David] Burns’ bill, LD 1346, suggests the implementation of a “training wage” of $5.25 an hour for 180 days for workers under the age of 20. Maine state minimum wage is $7.50 an hour, 25 cents more than federal minimum wage.
Under Burns’ bill, young Mainers would be earning $2.25 less an hour than state minimum wage.
[Sen. Debra] Plowman’s bill, LD 516, would increase the number of hours 16- and 17-year-olds could work weekly from 20 to 24 and would allow them to work until 11 p.m. Originally, the bill would have allowed them to work 32 hours a week.
Progressive groups Maine People’s Alliance and National Employment Law Project have hit back at conservatives’ throwback effort with this ad seeking to protect Maine’s youngest workers:
Reactions to the legislation supported by Maine’s tourist and restaurant associations have split along party lines.
“I’m trying to figure out where this is coming from,” Rep. Paul Gilbert, D-Jay, said. “Everybody says this is for the kids, but I don’t see any kids (in the committee room).”
Republican Rep. Bruce Bickford said the government should get out of child labor issues.
“This is in no way an attempt to abuse child labor, which some may look at and say, ‘We’ve fought hard for kids and we’ve done this or that,'” he said. “Kids have parents. Let the parents be responsible for the kids. It’s not up to the government to regulate everybody’s life and lifestyle. Take the government away. Let the parents take care of their kids.”Click here for reuse options!
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