D021 Support for Child Labor Protections

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring,

That the Episcopal Church remember with the gratitude the work of faithful Christian and Episcopalian Frances Perkins, who is called the architect of the New Deal and the conscience of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and as the first woman cabinet member and Secretary of Labor oversaw the enactment of the of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which for the first time banned oppressive child labor in United States federal law, and who is remembered each year in Lesser Feasts and Fasts on May 13th; and be it further,

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church oppose current attempts to weaken child labor laws at the state and federal levels, such as: repealing age verification and parental permission requirements; granting employers immunity from civil liability for workplace injuries, illness, or death; lowering minimum ages for working in hazardous industries, including meatpacking and industrial laundries; creating sub-minimum wages for teenagers; and extending the number of hours children are permitted to work; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church recognize that the primary targets of these attempts to weaken child labor laws are our most vulnerable children, including very low-income and migrant children, who are often living apart from their parents; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Public Policy Network support domestic and foreign policies to strengthen and enforce child labor laws in the United States of America and globally and throughout the labor supply chain, including supporting policies to:

  • eliminate separate treatment of agricultural workers under federal employment law;
  • fully fund enforcement of child labor standards at federal, state, and local levels, and enhance company penalties for violating these rules;
  • eliminate sub-minimum wages for youth;
  • eliminate or prohibit two-tiered systems, often labeled as training programs, which fail to protect children from hazardous work, especially in the agricultural sector;
  • strengthen wage theft laws and provide resources to enforce them, especially for children;
  • provide adequate protection and oversight for unaccompanied minor and refugee children after they are released to their sponsors;
  • improve government oversight and transparency regarding the use of child labor in the global supply chain, and the use of diplomatic pressure on foreign governments and regulation of global corporations and their imported products to eliminate the use of oppressive child labor in factories and products;

and be it further

Resolved, That the Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church take this resolution into account in the implementation of its corporate human rights screen and in corporate advocacy via the Church’s investment portfolio, with attention to the use of child labor in the global supply chain of companies in which the church is invested.