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Party of family values repealing child labor laws in Maine

Apparently the GOP in Maine believes that working children more hours for low wages will help the ailing economy.  According to a recent New York Times editorial, Maine Governor Paul LePage has not only bulldozed union rights, but has even been working on repealing child labor laws:

In Maine, where Gov. Paul LePage was so contemptuous of labor that he ordered the removal of murals depicting workers from a state building, Republicans are even supporting a loosening of child labor restrictions, eliminating the maximum number of hours that minors can work on school days.”

Moreover, a bill that has been presented to the Maine State Legislature as of March 30 proposes lowering the minimum wage for workers under age 20 from 7.50 an hour to 5.25 an hour.  ThinkProgress reports:

LD 1346 suggests several significant changes to Maine’s child labor law, most notably a 180-day period during which workers under age 20 would earn $5.25 an hour.

The state’s current minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.

Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, is sponsoring the bill, which also would eliminate the maximum number of hours a minor over 16 can work during school days.

Burns’ bill is particularly insidious, because it directly encourages employers to hire children or teenagers instead of adult workers.

Maine’s current unemployment rate is only 7%.   The national unemployment rate is 9.2% as of March, 2011.

As a wave of GOP union gutting begun by Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, has swept a dozen states so far across the nation, affecting firefighters, police officers and teachers, the attempt to repeal child labor laws is the latest in attempts to eliminate unions and labor laws.    If other states decide to follow Maine’s example, the implications of repealed child labor laws across the country would place children as the main labor force working for about the same and/or slightly lower wages than Mexican migrant workers for their first six months.

About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
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