From today’s NBC News:
In the wake of federal investigations into illegal child labor and media reports including an NBC News series on children cleaning slaughterhouses, two Democratic senators are sending letters to 27 CEOs demanding responses on their companies’ compliance with labor laws.
The new Senate inquiry is taking place amid a 69% increase in the number of children found to be employed in violation of labor laws, according to the Department of Labor.
The companies receiving letters Wednesday morning include General Mills, Packers Sanitation Services Inc., JBS Foods, Hearthside Foods, J.Crew and Target.
In the letters, Democrats Alex Padilla of California and John Hickenlooper of Colorado wrote: “We write to express our deep concern regarding recent public reporting of labor exploitation of child migrants. Many unaccompanied children reported to be working in unsafe conditions have already endured horrific trauma in making the perilous journey to the United States, and we ask that you closely examine your own child labor practices and ensure you are compliant with federal labor laws to avoid putting more children in harm’s way.”
The letters note that according to federal labor laws, children can only work three hours a day on school days and 18 hours total each week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In mid-February, the Labor Department found more than 100 children illegally working dangerous jobs on overnight shifts for Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) at 13 slaughterhouses in eight states, including a JBS Foods plant. Some children were as young as 13 and were attending middle school during the day. The company entered into an agreement with the agency pledging compliance with child labor laws and consented to third-party oversight. The company also paid a $1.5 million fine.
Read the complete story here.