National Consumers League

Worker Rights

Worker Rights

Take action to protect migrant farmworker children

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Take action on March 31 to protect young farmworkersNational phone-in day for protecting child farmworkers is March 31, 2010, Cesar Chavez Day. Advocates are calling on consumers to help protect migrant farmworker children by calling on their Representative to support the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (H.R. 3564).

March 31 is the birth date of the legendary farmworker and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, who worked tirelessly during his life to improve the lives of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Today, the young children of these workers still often work in the fields besides their parents. Is it right the U.S. Child Labor law allows a 12-year-old to perform back-breaking harvest work for 8-12 hours a day in 95-degree heat when that same child would not be allowed to work in an air-conditioned office? Many farmworker children earn less than $2 an hour and sacrifice their education in the process. Overwhelmed by constant migration and exhaustion from arduous work, many of these children drop out of school—half never graduate—and contribute to the generational poverty that has troubled the farmworker community for decades.

Please help us honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez by taking a moment to phone your representative in Congress to urge their co-sponsorship of the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE), HR 3564. This important piece of legislation would remove the discriminatory exemptions to U.S. child labor law that allow large numbers of 12- and 13-year-olds to work in U.S. agriculture and allow minors to perform hazardous activities that can only be performed by adults in other industries. The CARE Act would preserve the family farm exemption to permit farmers to pass on work skills to their own children but would protect hundreds of thousands of young children who work for wages in agriculture under trying and dangerous conditions. Child farmworkers risk pesticide poisoning, heat illness, injuries from scissors, knives and heavy equipment, and life-long disabilities. They suffer fatalities at four times the rate of children working in other jobs.

Currently, 77 member of the House of Representatives have co-sponsored CARE, but we need additional co-sponsors to get the bill passed.

Please call your Representative on March 31.

Sample message:
“My name is ____, and I’m calling from (town/city, state). I’m very concerned about child labor in U.S. agriculture. I am calling because I would like the representative to co-sponsor H.R. 3564, the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment. I believe this bill can make a difference in addressing the high dropout rate among farmworker children and believe it deserves the Representative’s support.”

Calls to congressional offices are usually taken by receptionists who briefly note the topic you are calling on. You will not be asked for detailed information!

Find your Representatives’ phone numbers at www.house.gov.

We particularly encourage calls to members of the Education and Labor Committee who have not yet co-sponsored the bill:

Jason Altmire (PA)
202-225-2565

Robert Andrews (NJ)
202-225-6501

Judy Biggert (IL)
202-225-3515

Rob Bishop (UT)
202-225-0453

Timothy Bishop (NY)
202-225-3826

Bill Cassidy (LA)
202-225-3901

Mike Castle (DE)
202-225-4165

Joe Courtney (CT)
202-225-2076

Susan Davis (CA)
202-225-2040

Vernon Ehlers (MI)
202-225-3831

Marcia Fudge (OH)
202-225-7032

Brett Guthrie (KY)
202-225-3501

Mazie Hirono (HI)
202-225-4906

Peter Hoekstra (MI)
202-225-4401

Rush Holt (NJ)
202-225-5801

Duncan Hunter (CA)
202-225-5672

Dale Kildee (MI)
202-225-3611

John Kline (MN)
202-225-2271

Dave Loebsack (IA)
202-225-6576

Carolyn McCarthy (NY)
202-225-5516 

Tom McClintock (CA)
202-225-2511

“Buck” McKeon (CA)
202-225-1956

George Miller (CA)
202-225-2095

Thomas Petri (WI)
202-225-2476

Todd  Platts (PA)
202-225-5836

Jared Polis (CO)
202-225-2161

Tom Price (GA)
202-225-4501

C. McMorris Rodgers (WA)
202-225-2006

David Roe (TN)
202-225-6356

Gregorio Sablan (NMI)
202-225-2646 

Joe Sestak (PA)
202-225-2011

Carol Shea-Porter (NH) 
202-225-5456

Mark Souder (IN)
202-225-4436

Glenn Thompson (PA)
202-225-5121

John Tierney (MA)
202-225-8020

Dina Titus (NV)
202-225-3252

Paul Tonko (NY)
202-225-5076

David Wu (OR)
202-225-0855

Thank you for your time. Your call WILL make a difference. Help us end the generational poverty that afflicts the farmworker community and keep farmworker children in school where they belong.

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