DES MOINES, Iowa — On Saturday at the Iowa State Capitol building, parents and workers gathered to protest legislation looking at the state’s child labor laws.
The bill allows 14-year-olds to work six-hour night shifts, allows 15-year-olds to work in plants on assembly lines moving items up to 50 pounds, and allows 16 and 17-year-olds to serve alcohol, etc. The legislation was voted through a House committee at the beginning of March, but protestors want to get ahead of potential floor debate.
“This is not only wrong for the state of Iowa, this is wrong for our children, that they’re going to be put in jobs in situations that are inherently extremely hazardous,” said Al Womble, the political director for the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
Iowa Democratic lawmakers were in attendance, along with around two dozen parents and workers. Organizers say this legislation is aimed at hurting people in poor financial situations.
“Those individuals who are in the lower economic strata are going to feel the pressure to put their kids out there in these kinds of jobs where they’re working late at night,” said Womble. “When does this kid have time for homework?”
Lawmakers will need to work fast if the legislation should pass, with only just over a month left until the end of session.