Rather than offering wages attractive to adults, employers want lawmakers to push teens into some of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

by Tom Conway, Inequality.org

Brad Greve has been a Scout leader for more than 20 years. The Davenport, Iowa retiree leads 50-mile canoe trips on Minnesota’s Boundary Waters that test teens’ mettle while teaching them essential skills.

Greve told a story recently where two boys, despite being warned repeatedly, let their canoe drift perilously close to a section of stream that swept over rapids into a lake below. They just barely recovered and made it to streambank.

Child laborers portrayed by Lewis Hine in 1911. Dust covered Breaker boys at Pennsylvania Coal mine, used hammers to

That near-accident a few years ago, Greve said, underscores the vulnerability of young teens. And it fuels Greve’s anger at Republicans across the country who want to gut child labor laws and fill dangerous jobs with still-maturing high schoolers.

GOP bill in Iowa, for example, would allow 14-year-olds to work in industrial freezers, meatpacking plants, and industrial laundry operations. The legislation would also put 15-year-olds to work on certain kinds of assembly lines, allow them to hoist up to 50 pounds, and allow employers to force kids into significantly longer work days.

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