Unions rally against changes in Iowa child labor laws
DES MOINES — Union workers marched through the Iowa Capitol Monday, rallying against a bill to expand the hours and places teenagers may work in Iowa.
The bill would let teens work longer hours at night and work in places where they are not allowed to work today. The bill would give two top state officials the power to issue waivers, so teenagers could do more jobs in food processing plants or manufacturing facilities. Iowa Federation of Labor president Charlie Wishman is accusing Republican lawmakers of trying to use kids for cheap labor.
“Our kids, we see their dreams. You all see profit,” Wishman said, “That’s why you’re doing this. Our kids are not for sale.”
Sandy Conway, a member of the United Steelworks Union, is an ultrasonic inspector at Arconic in Riverdale. “Everything in our plant gets moved by a fork truck, a crane, a vaccuum or hooks,” she said. “It’s no place for 14 or 15 year old kids to be.”
Jesse Case is secretary treasurer of Cedar Rapids based Teamsters Local 238. “We don’t need more kids working in factories and packing plants,” Case said. “We need to pay higher wages for their parents, so their kids don’t have to work in factories and packing plants.”
The Republican chair of the Senate Workforce Committee says he’s working on changes to the bill, but hasn’t announced what those changes may be.