News & Commentary

April 18, 2023

Iman Masmoudi

Iman Masmoudi is a student at Harvard Law School.

The Iowa Senate passes a child labor law allowing more minors to work; the White House announces a sweeping executive order to improve child and family care resources; and the WGA authorizes a writers’ strike.

This morning, the Iowa Senate passed a law allowing younger children, 14 – 17 years old, to work night shifts, on assembly lines, and to serve alcohol. This bill was heavily lobbied for by the restaurant industry and now moves to the Iowa House for consideration. This comes on the heels of an overall rise in child labor law violations, as the Washington Post reports today, with several other states making efforts or already succeeding in rolling back child labor laws. The permissive expansions of child labor go beyond the restaurant industry to construction sites, assembly lines, slaughter houses, or other potentially dangerous workplaces. The push is motivated both by socially conservative views about young kids potentially wasting time hanging out with friends and by various industries seeking low-wage workers in a difficult labor market for employers.

The White House announced today a new effort by President Biden to improve access to child and family care through an Executive Order that will include “more than 50 directives to nearly every cabinet-level agency.” The announcement focuses on the twin problems of unaffordable child care and unsustainable care work itself. The effort intends to make child care and longterm care more affordable for families by identifying new sources of funding and lowering the cost of government programs; improve access to home-based care for veterans; increase wages for early child care professionals through the Head Start program and others; improve working conditions and funding for care workers paid by Medicaid; support family caregivers by expanding the standard of dementia care and access to mental health support; protect domestic workers’ through a sample DOL agreement guaranteeing the right to join a union; and facilitate the construction of daycares and preschools for the Tribes through HHS.

Finally, in an update to Elyse’s news yesterday, the Writers’ Guild of America voted overwhelmingly yesterday to authorize a strike after ten years of declining wages and exploitative contracts. Turnout was almost 80% and the strike was passed with almost 98% support.

Daily News & Commentary

Start your day with our roundup of the latest labor developments. See all

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.