Republicans not kidding around | Wis.Community

Republicans not kidding around

During the Capitol protests, one young child -- among many who with their parents were in the "frenzied mobs" that Scott Fitzgerald saw from his office window -- carried a sign that read: Without unions, I'd be at work right now

Of course that young lady's sign was making the point that the early efforts of the [img_assist|nid=41919|title=Damned kids|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=175|height=122]organized labor movement in this country were instrumental in bringing about child labor laws, which limited the hours that juveniles could work, preventing many injuries and exploitative behavior by employers. Once again, Wisconsin leads the way in pointing out the underlying impetus of the current Republican push to return our country to the '80s -- the 1880s. And that sign, seen weeks ago, was truly prescient. For now, in the state of Maine, Republican legislators have introduced a bill that seriously rolls back that state's own implmentation of child labor protections. From the Huffington Post (URL below):

The minimum wage in Maine is $7.50 an hour, and . But under introduced in the state's House of Representatives, employers would be able to pay anyone under the age of 20 as little as $5.25 an hour for their first 180 days on the job.

The bill, LD 1346, also eliminates the maximum number of hours a minor 16 years of age or older can work on a school day and allows a minor under the age of 16 to work up to four hours on a school day during hours when school is not in session.

With , state Rep. Paul Gilbert (D) wonders why Republicans are pushing to create a pool of cheap labor when so many people are begging for jobs.

Add it all up: Anti-union legislation in Wisconsin, Ohio, and a growing list of northern states and, meanwhile, pro-child labor efforts in Maine now and perhaps other states later -- even a move by Michigan's GOP to reduce by six weeks unemployment insurance checks to workers in that state, which suffers under the nation's highest unemployment rate.

What's going on here? Just this: Some employers want to drive down salaries while gaining more control over their workers. Republican legislators seem determined to oblige them.

Published

April 1, 2011 - 8:06pm

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