Sending Office: Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
Cosponsor the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE) of 2019
Endorsed by: Action for Children North Carolina; AFL-CIO; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); American Federation of Teachers; Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC; Association of Farmworker
Opportunity Programs; Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, & Grain Millers International Union; Bank Information Center; Beyond Borders; Bon Appétit Management Company; California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation; Child Labor Coalition; Children’s Alliance
(Washington State); Child Welfare League of America; CLASP; Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking—CAST; Coalition of Immokalee Workers; Communications Workers of America; Community Farm Alliance; Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families; Dialogue
on Diversity; East Coast Migrant Head Start Project; Farmworker Association of Florida; Farmworker Justice; Feminist Majority Foundation; First Focus Campaign for Children; Food Chain Workers Alliance; Food Policy Action Education Fund; General Federation
of Women’s Clubs; Global Campaign for Education—US; Global Fairness Initiative; Global March Against Child Labour; Hispanic Affairs Project (Colorado); Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU); Human Agenda; Human Rights Watch; International
Brotherhood of the Teamsters; International Initiative to End Child Labor; International Labor Rights Forum; Jobs with Justice; Justice for Migrant Women; Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation; Kentucky Equal Justice Center; Labor Council for Latin American
Advancement—LACLAA; Media Voices for Children; Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project; Migrant Justice/Justicia Migrante; Migrant Legal Action Program; NAACP; National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education; National Consumers League; National
Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH); National Employment Law Project (NELP); National Farm Worker Ministry; National Organization for Women; NC Field; New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty; North Carolina Council of Churches; North Carolina
Justice Center; PCUN—Pineros y Campesinos del Noroeste (Northwest Tree planters and Farmworkers); Public Citizen; Rukmini Foundation; SER Jobs for Progress National, Inc.; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Shriver Center on Law and Poverty; Student
Action with Farmworkers; Telamon Corp./Transition Resources Corp. (programs in 11 states); UFW Foundation; United Farm Workers of America (UFW); United Steel Workers; Wayne Action for Racial Equality; Worker Justice Center of New York
115th Congress Cosponsors (41): Bass, Barragan, Blumenauer, Capuano, Cardenas, Carson, Chu, Cicilline, Clarke, Clay, DeLauro, Ellison, Eshoo, Evans, Gallego, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hastings, Jackson Lee, Bernice Johnson,
“Hank” Johnson, Kaptur, Khanna, Lee, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Lynch, McGovern, Moore, Napolitano, Norton, Pallone, Pocan, Sablan, Schakowsky, Schiff, Serrano, Sires, Takano, Wasserman Schultz, Wilson
116th Congress Cosponsors (34): Barragán, Bass, Blumenauer, Cardenas, Chu, Cicilline, Clarke, Connolly, DeLauro, Gallego, Garcia (IL), Grijalva, Haaland, Jackson Lee, Johnson, Kaptur, Kennedy, Kim, Lee (CA), Levin (MI), Lowenthal,
Lynch, McGovern, Moore, Napolitano, Norton, Pocan, Sablan, Schakowsky, Schiff, Serrano, Sires, Watson Coleman, Wilson
I write to ask for your support in ending a dangerous double standard that persists in United States child labor laws.
Agriculture is the only American industry that permits child workers as young as twelve to work without restrictions on the number of hours they spend in the fields outside of the school day. Children farm laborers receive no legal protection
for how early they start working during mornings, how late they work on school or weekend evenings, and the total number of hours they can work during the day. In part due to long, unregulated work schedules, half of children who regularly perform farm work
do not complete secondary education; high-school drop-out rates of child farmworkers quadruple the national average.
Child farmworkers also endure serious threats to their health and safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, agriculture is the most dangerous industry for young workers.
Working long hours in hot temperatures with sharp tools and heavy machinery, climbing up tall ladders, and lugging heavy sacks and buckets, child farmworkers risk serious injury and even fatality. Because of their early physical development, children are also
at heightened susceptibility to acute poisoning and other health problems associated with long-term pesticide exposure including cancer, brain damage, and reproductive problems. In fact, a recent
GAO report found that over 50% of all the work-related child fatalities occur in the agriculture industry.
This must stop: children who work on farms deserve the same rights and protections as children working in every other industry. Because of this, I am planning to reintroduce the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE) of 2019.
While retaining current exemptions for family farms and educational programs like 4-H and Future Farmers of America, the CARE Act would:
- Bring age and work-hour standards for children in agriculture up to the standards for children working in all other industries;
- Establish a minimum penalty for child labor violations;
- Increase the maximum civil monetary penalties and maximum criminal penalties for child labor violations;
- Provide children with greater protections against pesticide exposure in agriculture by raising the labor protections to EPA standards. Currently, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, which govern the use and application of pesticides, make
no special consideration for children.
- Mandate employer reporting requirements on work-related serious injuries and fatalities.
- Require DOL to report to Congress annually a summary of data collected on work-related child injuries, illness, and fatalities and an analysis of this data.
For more information or to co-sponsor the CARE Act of 2019, contact Ernesto Rodriguez at
Ernesto.Rodriguez2@mail.house.gov or by calling (202) 225-1766. Thank you.
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0