Union workers, parents rally in Davenport against proposed child labor bills

Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 6:48 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Two Iowa bills focusing on modifying current child labor laws are sparking discussions about child safety.

The Davenport UFCW held a rally Saturday to educate and protest the bills.

Contained within both bills are modifications to existing child labor laws in Iowa, and include the following amendments:

  • Encouraging youth to participate in “work-based learning,” and the Iowa Workforce Development providing waivers to children 14 to 17-years-old
  • Extending the hours a 14-year-old could work at night from four to six hours
  • Allowing 15-year-olds to work in assembly lines, and 16- and 17- year-olds to serve alcohol

“I think it preys on the vulnerable,” said Michael Olivera, the Political Coordinator for Local 111 Ironworkers. “I mean people that have the money you’re not going to have your kids going to work in factories or hazardous places, but people that need the money, the ones that are the most vulnerable are the ones they’re going after.”

Some attendees at Saturday’s rally said they wanted to learn more about these bills and understand what the next generation could face if lawmakers pass them.

For Chloe Schaffer, these bills could impact her greatly when she’s starting to apply for jobs.

“It’s not very fair that 14 year-olds and up will be put into danger like it was like hundreds of years ago,” Schaffer said.

Both bills have passed their respective committees, and are now headed for the general assembly for debate.