Amid an ongoing push for higher wages by US workers, including union-building efforts and a national railway strike that was averted last December, some states are finding ways to undercut the working class.
One method, as Business Insider reports, is for the US to start allowing children aged 14-17 into the workforce. The federal government has said this practice is already increasing in an illicit fashion, too.
In the last month, Republican lawmakers in Iowa and Minnesota have introduced legislation that would allow exceptions to existing child labor regulations. This is aimed at ameliorating the ongoing labor shortage in the US, which is also plaguing other countries, predominantly in the West.
According to Business Insider, the State of Minnesota “lost 90,000 workers alone during the pandemic, according to state demographers, making it one of the tightest labor markets in the country. Iowa’s not far behind with roughly 75,000 open jobs in December.” The proposed bills in these states would allow children to work more hours and “protect employers from liabilities due to sickness or accidents,” which could help specific industries like construction and meatpacking that are being hit hard in these states.